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« February 2014 | Main | April 2014 »

March 31, 2014

Judging Obamacare: How Do We Know If It's A Success Or Failure?

One day very soon, the focus on Obamacare will turn from signing up new enrollees to quantifying the law's success - or failure.

The six-month open enrollment period, during which consumers sign up for health plans under the Affordable Care Act, is supposed to end today. But the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as many states running their own marketplaces, are giving some extra time to consumers who've had trouble signing up.

It'll probably all wrap up by April 15. Then, the final numbers will be tallied and the pronouncements will begin. Politicians on both sides of the aisle will use the same data to proclaim that they were right about the law.

Last Thursday, the Obama administration said that more than 6 million people have signed up for coverage on the health insurance exchanges, meeting the projections set out by the Congressional Budget Office. Republicans have countered by questioning how many enrollees have paid their first month's premium, the final step necessary for coverage to be in effect.

Dr. David Blumenthal of the Commonwealth Fund recently told me that any attempt to review the success of the law must go beyond those who sign up for coverage on the exchanges. It should include those who gained coverage through the expansion of state Medicaid programs for the poor, as well as young adults who are now able to stay on their parents' health plans because of the law.

"I think the real success of the law will be judged over five years, not six months," he said. "In fact, this president, President Obama, has until January 2017 to establish it as a fixture in the American social policy firmament."

That may well be true, but now seems like a reasonable time to take stock. So, how should success - and ultimately the law itself - be judged? Here's what some experts are saying about which metrics to use and the problems with each.

What percentage of previously uninsured people are finding coverage under the exchanges?

We can't answer this question yet because we don't know whether those signing up for coverage were previously uninsured. In fact, some enrollees, perhaps many, had their insurance plans canceled at the end of 2013 because the plans did not meet the requirements set out by the ACA. Obama administration officials have not released any numbers on this.

That said, a recent report from the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation compares enrollment data through the end of February (with one month left to go in the official open enrollment period) to the number of eligible uninsured people in each state.

Here's what the researchers found:

"Overall, more than 4.2 million people have enrolled and picked a plan through the exchanges, about 14.8 percent of all potential eligibles. The enrollment rate varies from state to state, with a high of 54 percent in Vermont to a low of five percent in Massachusetts. We should note that Massachusetts had the lowest rate of uninsurance in the nation since its health reform in 2006; its previous success might mean that the remaining uninsured population could be especially difficult to reach."

Here's a graphic from the report showing the states in which the greatest share of uninsured received coverage (through February).

ldi_enrollment.png(ENLARGE)


Did states meet estimates from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services?

MarketWatch had a story last week comparing enrollment in each state to the HHS projections. By that measure, Connecticut led the pack, signing up 218 percent of its projected enrollment through the end of February. It was followed by Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York and Maine.

marketwatch.png(ENLARGE)

The problem with this approach is that the goals are "in many cases, based on little more than educated guesswork," writes Charles Gaba, creator of ACASignups.net, which has become akin to the Bible for tracking sign-ups under the law.

He noted that CMS's state-by-state projections were based on 7 million enrollees nationwide, the original projection of the CBO. That projection has since been revised downward to 6 million because of the problems with HealthCare.gov, the online sign-up portal for 36 states. In addition, some states provided their own figures while CMS simply sliced up the rest to fit the 7 million projection.

He elaborated in an e-mail: "Ten states out of 50 gave their target numbers to CMS, but those numbers were higher than CMS was figuring, so they had to drop the other 40 states down so that the grand total fit the CBO's 7 [million] total. As a result, you get some absurd numbers - both NY and KY had the same 220K (actually, KY's was 220K, NY's was less at 218K) even though NY's population is much, much higher and so on."

Gaba suggests an alternate measure more like the one used by the Leonard Davis Institute researchers, which looks at the percentage of eligible enrollees in each state.

What percentage of enrollees are young adults, aka the "young invincibles" who typically are regarded as healthier?

A number of news outlets have focused on the relative dearth of young people choosing plans through the end of February to point out that the insurance companies may not have so-called balanced risk pools, meaning enough young, healthy enrollees to offset the costs of older, sicker ones. The Washington Post noted this month:

"Strong participation by young adults is critical to the program's success, because they tend to use less medical care. Because they are cheaper to insure, young people offset insurers' costs of covering the sick, many of whom are eager to sign up for coverage. Under the health-care law, people with preexisting medical conditions can't be rejected.

Initially, officials had hoped that 40 percent of the sign-ups would be adults under the age of 35, but only about 27 percent of February enrollments were young adults, about the same as in January. On Tuesday, administration officials said they were nevertheless encouraged and predicted more young people would enroll closer to the deadline."

Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, is critical of such efforts to equate young enrollees to healthy ones.

"Young people benefit the risk pool because they are healthier, but it's really the percentage of healthy people that make or break the risk pool," Altman wrote in a column last week.

"Even if enrollment of young adults stays where it is - at about one-quarter instead of 40 percent, which our analysis shows they make up among potential enrollees - premiums would only increase by two to three percent. Though even that isn't quite right, since many insurers expected this and already built it into their premiums."

What we really need to know is what percentage of enrollees are healthy vs. sick. That will take time.

What will happen to insurance premiums in 2015?

Some experts are looking beyond this year's enrollment numbers and are focusing on what the insurance rates will be for those renewing their plans this fall - or selecting plans for the first time.

Scott Gottlieb, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told me this month that he thinks attention will quickly shift from this year's enrollment cycle to insurers' rates for next year.

"The rates are going to come out early spring, so that's going to be the next big story. And I suspect they'll go up quite a bit," he said.

That view was echoed by an anonymous insurance executive who talked to The Hill newspaper.

Dylan Scott at Talking Points Memo isn't convinced they will uniformly rise. He also notes that insurance rates were increasing before Obamacare and will increase after the law.

"The real data for measuring Obamacare's success aren't in yet, but they eventually will be," he wrote last week.

"At the top of the list: What happens with premiums in 2015? Plus: Do insurance companies leave the market or enter it? And the ultimate barometer: Has the number of uninsured Americans dropped significantly?

"In simpler terms: Did Obamacare, in year one, create a sustainable insurance market for the long term?"

Another problem with looking at rates is that an insurer's increase for 2015 may mean that it didn't set the right price for this year, not that medical costs have increased dramatically.

***

In the end, some hints of the law's success - or failure - will be available this year, but it will take longer to assess how much it has reduced the number of uninsured and moderated health care costs (the two key metrics of success).

An article in the New York Times on Friday suggests that rather than judging the success of the law nationally, it may make more sense to look at it state by state:

"A review of state-by-state enrollment data and other research, as well as interviews with patients, advocates, health policy analysts, elected officials, supporters and critics of the Affordable Care Act, suggest that, for consumers at least, the state of health care under the national law depends almost entirely on where a person lives."

At the end of his column, Kaiser's Altman wondered if the American public would wait for the facts to make up its mind:

"The problem is that it will take time to learn if the mix of enrollees is healthier or sicker, and how premium increases vary around the country, and how people feel about their coverage. Meanwhile Republican politicians will lambast the law and Democratic ones will offer lukewarm support and overall popularity of the ACA probably won't change very much. Anybody willing to wait for a judgment based on the right metrics?"

Have you tried signing up for health care coverage through the new exchanges? Help us cover the Affordable Care Act by sharing your insurance story.

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Previously:
* Health Care Sign-Ups: This Is What Transparency Looks Like.

* How The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza Became A Mistaken Poster Boy For Obamacare.

* Loyal Obama Supporters, Canceled By Obamacare.

* Answered: Why Two Obama Loyalists Lost Their Health Policies.

* Health Care Delays Squeeze Patients In State High-Risk Pools.

* Coming In January: Obamacare Rate Shock Part Two.

* The Obamacare Deadline No One Is Talking About.

* The Obamacare Paper Pileup.

* Deadline? What Deadline? The Obamacare Sign-Up Dates Keep Moving.

* Journalists Turn To Themselves For Obamacare Stories.

* Health Care Fine Print Strikes Again: Canceled Customers Transferred To New Policies Without Permission.

* Obamacare Enrollment Report Leaves Out Key Details.

* Obamacare Bolsters Market Share For Dominant Carriers.

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Comments welcome.



Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:25 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Theo's Real Track Record

Who remembers who the Cubs traded for Anthony Rizzo several years ago? It couldn't have been anyone valuable, could it? Theo Epstein wouldn't have given up a real asset to acquire a player he was most interested in for sentimental reasons, would he?

Rizzo was a kid that Theo and his boys had drafted into the Red Sox organization in 2007. And he earned the admiration of one and all after he battled cancer and emerged victorious shortly thereafter. But when the opportunity arose for the Red Sox to acquire stud first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres, San Diego insisted that a certain prospect in particular be part of the transaction. Rizzo was shipped to the Padres in the blockbuster that resulted in Gonzalez moving to New England.

The next year, Rizzo got the call. The young first baseman who had beaten cancer was on the verge of claiming a spot in the middle of a major league lineup. But he was a bust. Rizzo barely batted .100 before San Diego finally gave up on him after a couple months in the majors.

The next offseason, Epstein and his minions pursued and finally landed their longtime favorite. But another problem soon arose. The price was Andrew Cashner, the Cubs' best pitching prospect. And in case you missed it, there was Cashner mowing down Dodger hitters on national TV last night.

After going 10-9 for a weak San Diego squad in 2013, Cashner was promoted to No. 1 starter this time around. And that was where he started the season by holding Los Angeles to one run during six rock-solid innings. After the Padres were shut out through seven, it turned out Cashner had kept them close enough to rally to win it. San Diego scored three in the eighth and eventually prevailed 3-1.

The moral of this story is not that Theo made a dumb move - although Theo did make a dumb move. Rizzo and his .238 lifetime batting average projects as a mediocre first baseman with less than mediocre power during the next three or four seasons. By 2016, the Cubs better have someone ready to generate real power at first.

Cashner's upside is slightly better.

The moral of the story is that, contrary to so much accepted sports commentariat "wisdom" in this town, there is a great chance that Theo and his minions are only average talent evaluators. Theo was the general manager for a couple Red Sox World Series winners in Boston but the vast majority of the players on the first one, in 2004, were brought in by the previous regime. And throughout his time in Boston, Theo took full advantage of Red Sox ownership's bottomless pockets to bring in high-priced free agents when his prospect didn't quite make the grade.

Here in Chicago, this was the year the Cubs should have started bringing in free agents to fill in the gaps in their talent pipeline from the minors (hell, they should have done it last year). But Tom Ricketts' determination to pile up sizable profits instead of making his baseball team as good as it can be has apparently stood in the way of any significant additions to the major league roster.

The Rizzo trade is obviously not Epstein's only failing the last four years. Another delightful element of his tenure running the Cubs has been his utter failure to properly assess Cuban prospects. It started in 2012 when he allowed the tiny-revenue A's - the A's! - to outbid him for Yoenis Cespedes, an awesome outfielder who has averaged 25 home runs in his first two years in the majors and whose OPS is just under .800. Oakland signed Cespedes to a $36 million, four-year deal.

Then the Cubs overreacted and overpaid Jorge Soler. They signed the Cuban free-agent outfielder who everyone knew was a lot further from the major leagues than Cespedes to a $30 million deal. After a mediocre spring, the stalled Soler was projected to begin this season in Double A.

Next up was Yasiel Puig and now the Cubs were back in ultra-cheap mode. The Dodgers signed the outfielder for $42 million later in 2012. All Puig did last year was set the National League on fire. The Dodgers were a bad baseball team before he arrived a few months into the season. His passion and, more importantly, his production kick-started a run of winning baseball that took Los Angeles all the way to the playoffs.

And finally there is Jose Abreu. The Sox signed him for $68 million in this past off-season and after a great spring he appears ready to become the young, power-hitting first baseman they desperately need. Why hasn't more attention been paid to the fact that the Cubs could have had him with a decent offer? They already had a first baseman? Really? Did I mention Rizzo's career batting average?

And finally (in this column), if last year is any indication, Theo erred mightily in giving Rizzo and Starlin Castro rich, multi-year contracts. Both regressed in a big way in 2013 with big money already in the bank. We'll see if they can pull out of it in the coming months.

Theo is also threatening to trade ace pitcher Jeff Samardzija, the Cubs' only real ray of promise at the major league level (okay, him and Junior Lake), because Samardzija won't give the Cubs a discount on a similar long-range deal. Huh?

The larger moral of all this is that the Cubs will not turn into one of the better franchises in baseball because Theo and his boys are better at drafting and developing prospects than their peers. They aren't. The only big advantage the Cubs have is that they bring in far higher revenues than average MLB clubs. They need to use those revenues to bring in big-time free agents, like previous GM Jim Hendry did as he led the Cubs to playoff berths in 2007 and 2008.

Theo and Ricketts have a long, long way to go before they come close to matching Hendry, let alone build the kind of consistent winner they have promised Cubs fans.

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See also:
* The Cub Factor: The Death March Begins Again.

* Fantasy Fix: Luis Valbuena or Javy Baez?

* The White Sox Report: Cold Predictions.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:46 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"The Cubs aren't even fun to hate-watch anymore," I write in The Cub Factor.

I have to say I've never been less interested in an Opening Day in my lifetime.

Thank you, Theo Epstein, for sucking the joy out of even hating being a Cubs fan.

And even more so, a giant Fuck You to the Ricketts family. You've done the impossible: You've made the previous owners look magnanimous.

*

"The spacious new Cubs Park in Mesa was a big hit this spring, with the Chicago Cubs setting new attendance records for a Cactus League season and for per-game average," the Arizona Republic reports.

Good. Maybe now give the taxpayers their $99 million back.

*

Meanwhile, Theo's track record isn't as good as you think it is. Our very own Jim Coffman explains in SportsMonday.

*

*

The outlook is slightly brighter on the South Side. Our very own Roger Wallenstein explains in The White Sox Report.

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Cracking The Chicagoland Code
This was the week the Rahmfest really went off the rails.

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Oh, Sun-Times

Indeed. It's from last May.

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Walgreens Whiff
"A powerful member of the Indiana Board of Pharmacy was quietly involved in discussions with state pharmacy regulators about a $100 million project that benefited his employer - Walgreens pharmacies," the Indianapolis Star reports.

"And now a government watchdog group and a labor federation say those actions not only violated state ethics laws, but have allowed Walgreen Co. to dramatically remodel dozens of stores across Indiana, compromising patient privacy and increasing the chance of errors in filling prescriptions.

"One of the groups persuaded the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to look into the matter. It recently launched an investigation into the patient privacy allegations at Walgreen."

Shady trips to Chicago involved. Click through for the details.

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Rahm Woos Black Journalists
Eats collard greens in Austin.

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Exclusive! Inside O'Hare's New Terminal 5!
Another Beachwood Special Report.

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
People, I beseech you!

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Judging Obamacare
You can believe the Tribune Company's naive and unknowledgeable coverage or learn the truth from the pros at Pro Publica.

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BeachBook
* Mayor Of Tornado-Ravaged Illinois Town Returns To Day Job At Caterpillar.

* GM Misled Grieving Families On Lethal Flaw.

* Inside The Mind Of Barack Obama's Straight Shooter.

* World's Largest Hot Dog Grilled At County Fair In Florida.

* LAPD Says Every Car In Los Angeles Is Part Of An Ongoing Criminal Investigation.

* The 10 Worst Lines From Sally Jenkins' Abysmal Hit Piece On The Northwestern Union Ruling.

* Tax Breaks For CEO's Pay For Million-Dollar Salaries.

* Impoverished In Illinois.

* Rahm vs. FOIA. A reminder.

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TweetWood

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*

*

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The Beachwood Tip Line: At a tipping point.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:17 AM | Permalink

The Death March Begins Again

The Cubs aren't even fun to hate-watch anymore.

Every last ounce of joy has been sucked out of this franchise. Goodbye Dioner Navarro, you were the last Cubs legend.

The team is even celebrating the death this year of Wrigley Field (1914 - 2014).

Goodbye, Wrigley. Now you're just a gum company again.

It's gonna be one boring season, from Sleepy Jim Deshaies in the booth to charisma-deficient Anthony Rizzo as team leader. Some interim coach we can't even work up an opinion about is managing the team this year and we don't even have a closer identified yet whom we can pour our frustrations onto.

The Opening Day pitcher is nicknamed the Shark but his performance is more akin to imitation crab.

Some predictions:

* Welington Castillo will take a step backward - into a hot tub. Out six to eight weeks.

* Darwin Barney will once again hit below his weight.

* Junior Lake will defy management's low expectations and thus, as the obvious fan favorite, get traded by July.

* Emilio Bonifacio will hit .270 but be treated like he's hitting .720.

* None of the five pitchers in the starting rotation will make it through the season; three will be traded and two will get hurt.

* Starlin Castro will be . . . Starlin Castro.

* At least one of the Core Four will suffer a serious injury while another will simply have a terrible season.

* Clark The Cub will accept a better offer driving a Blue Line train.

* Attendance will be so bad by July that the team will get started on the renovation early and just work around the handful of fans.

The Week In Review: The Cubs went 4-3-1 in their last week of spring training, finishing 15-18 for the exhibition season. They will be hard-pressed to match that winning percentage in the regular season.

The Week In Preview: The Cubs are the homecoming home opener patsies of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday in the first of a three-game series. Then they come home to host the Philadelphia Phillies for three over the weekend. By this time next week, they'll be mathematically eliminated.

Wrigley Is 100 Celebration: A pyre of 100 corked bats bearing Sammy Sosa's name will go up in flames in right field before every home game this week.

The Second Basemen Report: They all play shortstop now.

The Junior Lake Show: A .284/.332/.428 slash line in spring training uncannily foresees his exact slash line for the entire season.

Mad Merch: Saturday is Cubs Magnet Schedule Day. Affix to your refrigerator and know what the Iowa Cubs are up to every day!

Laughable Headline Of The Week: Cubs, White Sox Will Be Bad, But Watch Anyway. There are also a couple of movies from rebuilding directors we recommend.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of I Don't Care are easily outpacing I'm Happy To Wait A Couple More Years.

Theo Condescension Meter: 9.

Shark Tank: Jeff Samardzija gets the Opening Day start on the road because he'd be too keyed up to take the Opening Day start at home, which goes to the much-better Travis Wood.

Jumbotron Preview: 5,700 square-feet of backup catcher Strummin' John Baker.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2016 2017 2018.

Over/Under: Days the Cubs will be over .500 this season: +/- 2.5. Days after April the Cubs will be over .500 this season: +/-: .5.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that Edgar Renteria is better than Rick Renteria.

Fantasy Fix: Luis Valbuena vs. Javy Baez.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Starlin Castro, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:52 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Carsick Cars at the Burlington on Friday night.


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2. White+ at the Burlington on Friday night.

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3. ONO at Quenchers on Friday night.

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4. Warpaint at the Metro on Saturday night.

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5. Gary Numan at the Metro on Saturday night.

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6. Larry and His Flask at Reggies on Thursday night.

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7. Vac da Hawk at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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8. Woody Pines at Mayne Stage on Thursday night.

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9. Mountain Sprout at Mayne Stage on Thursday night.

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10. Eric Lambert and Friends at Mayne Stage on Thursday night.

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11. Model Stranger at Beat Kitchen on Friday night.

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12. Bear's Den at Schubas on Sunday night.

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13. Novembers Doom at the Cobra Lounge on Friday night.

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14. Cherub at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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15. The Diggity at Martyrs' on Friday night.

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16. Rhett Miller at City Winery on Friday night.

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17. Breathe Carolina at Subterranean on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:14 AM | Permalink

Exclusive! Inside O'Hare's New Terminal 5

"Westfield is pleased to debut a never-before-seen video sneak peek of the New International Terminal 5 (T5) at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. The massive $26 million transformation by Westfield features more than 18 new premier dining and luxury retail shops - including 11 local Chicago brands - cutting-edge design, and world-class amenities.

"The New T5 showcases local airport firsts like modern Italian eatery Tocco, artisanal market Goddess & Grocer, and (5) concepts by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, including Hub 51, Big Bowl, and Wow Bao; a new 10,000 SF European-style duty-free shop, a first of its kind in North America which all departing passengers pass through after clearing the new TSA checkpoint; and luxury boutiques like Salvatore Ferragamo and a luxury watch shop."

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But that's not all. The Beachwood has learned that Terminal 5 will also include these special features:

* Non-crashy El access.

* Animatronic Cheers bar with Chicago postman who keeps your mail buried in his backyard.

* Get Screamed At By Rahm Simulator now featuring 50 languages.

* Duty-free international tax breaks.

* State-of-the-art profiling using CPD's proprietary MuslimStat.

* Baggage claim dibs.

* New Welcome Ambassador Dennis Rodman.

* TSA agents trained in the international language of love.

* Bitcoin currency exchange.

* Slot machines technically located in international airspace.

* Closed-circuit television broadcasts of Chicago city council meetings so visitors from tyrannical nations can see how real democracy works the second they step foot in America.

* The new Taste of Chicago, featuring McDonald's, Sbarro and video of Rahm dancing to Robin Thicke on an endless loop.

* Streamlined international graft processing.

* Pre-approved voter registration cards with pre-approved ballots.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:38 AM | Permalink

Cracking The Chicagoland Code 4: LollapaRahmza

It's Rahmfest off the rails.


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Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 2: Fixing The Facts.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 3: Get Me Write.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 3: Our Fact-Challenged Heroes.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 4: Did We Mention That Rahm Loves (Black) Kids?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:17 AM | Permalink

Cold Predictions

My favorite cold-weather baseball story actually comes from a high school game.

I was teaching and coaching at the posh Francis W. Parker School in Lincoln Park when the athletic director was a soft-spoken, wonderful guy named Bob Steffens. Before becoming AD, he coached a number of sports, including baseball, during his long career at the school.

Parker, in its continual effort to bolster the self-images of its students, had a no-cut policy. Anyone who wanted to play on a team could do so, although there was no requirement that everyone got playing time.

Parker's home baseball field was what could best be described as tundraesque during April in that triangle at North Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. When the wind blew from the east - which it tended to do every time we played at home - there was no stopping it.

O'Hare could be basking in 60-plus degree sunshine while The Hawk kept wind chills in the 20s and 30s just yards from the lake.

When Steff was varsity coach, he gazed down the bench during one of those frigid afternoons only to find one of his less-talented players stripped to the waist.

"What the hell are you doing?" he asked.

"I'm not putting on my shirt until you put me in the game," was the response.

Since I consider myself a sensitive, caring individual, I said, "Of course, you put him in, didn't you, Steff?"

"Absolutely not," he replied. "I told him to stop acting crazy and get a shirt."

The weather prognosticators indicate that this afternoon's Sox opener will be far more comfortable than that wind-blown, freezing day long ago, but before the opening series with the Twins ends on Thursday, our guys will experience their share of the vestiges of winter.

Before he left Arizona last week, Sox ace Chris Sale, a Florida native, said, "I know it's going to be cold up there [in Chicago], but it's going to be cold for the other team, too."

That's true, but the players can retreat to the heated clubhouse when their team bats, and they have the luxury of all kinds of modern clothing and gadgets to warm them.

Not so with the fans. Many may be well-equipped - after all, they go to Bear games - but that may include a flask which, as far as my research has taken me, has never been a recommended antidote for hypothermia or frostbite.

Fortunately this season's openers will be played primarily in warm-weather cities like Tampa St. Petersburg, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, Oakland and Los Angeles.

Nevertheless, there will be big crowds at the Cell, and in Milwaukee and Detroit this afternoon regardless of the temperature. The winter has been long and nasty, and Opening Day is a positive marker in our lives that signals better times ahead.

At a recent luncheon in the California desert, legendary Detroit News writer Jerry Green was reminiscing about baseball openers in the Motor City where, according to Green, "everyday in April is cloudy."

Green covered the 1959 opener against the White Sox, one of those blustery, cold days with a few snowflakes mixed in with the fly balls. That game went 14 innings before Nellie Fox of all people drove a pitch into the right field stands with Fenger alumnus Sammy Esposito on base. The final was 9-7.

"It was the only homer he hit all year," reported Green, who was half right. Fox, the league's MVP that year, led the Sox to the World Series, and he hit one other home run along the way. Of course, Fox was a fixture at second base for the Sox throughout the '50s and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997. He began that glorious season 1959 going 5-for-7, just a portent of things to follow.

The Sox's other World Series season since started off with Mark Buehrle shutting out the Indians 1-0 in 2005 on two hits. Shingo Takatsu - remember him? - pitched the ninth for the save.

Wouldn't it be nice if this season's edition got off to the same kind of rousing beginning?

Make no mistake - I'm not suggesting that this group will approach the heights of the '59 or '05 teams. But more wins than losses in April would set a much-needed tone, providing a dose of early confidence for this crew.

Sports Illustrated has pegged the Sox for 97 losses this season, while USA Today quoted one scout - why are they never identified by name? - who said they could be "decent - or really, really bad."

With the acquisitions and changes the team has made, only two fewer losses than a disastrous 2013 doesn't compute. Won't Jose Abreu, a full season of Avisail Garcia, and speedy centerfielder Adam Eaton make a difference? Of course, they will. SI predicted the Sox would finish 81-81 a year ago, and we know how that worked out.

Pitching is the biggest question mark, as well it should be, with a rotation of Sale, Jose Quintana, John Danks, Felipe Paulino and Erik Johnson. Last season the ballclub began the year with Sale, Quintana, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd and Dylan Axelrod. That quintet looked promising on paper. but only the first two finished the season in the rotation due to Floyd's injury, Peavy's trade and Axelrod's batting practice deliveries.

Our interest is piqued by all this mystery. As fans we're curious whether the new faces will help the Sox improve. As the days, weeks, and months roll by, the pieces of the puzzle gradually fall into place just as the thermometer inches upward in its slow march toward summer.

And we'll see if this new White Sox edition warms up right along with the weather.

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Roger Wallenstein is our man on the Sox. He welcomes your comments.

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1. From Andrew Foertsch:

I'm a transplanted White Sox fan here in beautiful St. Pete FL. My dad grew up in the Back of the Yards and brought his love for the White Sox to the Nort'west Side.where I grew up an outcast in Cubbie Hell.

I love the Sox and I'm OK with the Rays unless they're playing the White Sox but for the record you got your cities mixed up. The Rays may be called the Tampa Bay Rays but they don't play in the Bay and they sure as hell don't play in Tampa.

The Rays play in St. Pete so please don't get the two mixed up. Tampa's on the east side of the Bay, has the Bucs, and other that that they got nothin'. I take that back. They have a lot of strip joints but they don't have a decent beach.

St. Pete is on the west side of the Bay and is a lot more laid back. I'm so over people getting St. Pete and Tampa mixed up so please remember that. Thanks. BTW the Rays beat the Blue Jays 9-2.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:01 AM | Permalink

March 29, 2014

The Weekend Desk Report

Upon reading the actual decision by a National Labor Relations Board officer, I can say with complete confidence that the media analysts are getting the story about Northwestern football players being designated employees of the university exactly wrong.

I explain on this week's Beachwood Podcast. Also: also discuss the latest episode of Chicagoland. Also, Tuffy and the Angry Aussie once again dissect the sad sack that passes for doco-journalism that is Chicagoland.


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Opening Day, Ray
"Baseball returns to Chicago on Monday, bringing with it the promise of better weather, lazy afternoons at the ballpark and, inevitably, a handful of rowdy fans celebrating with too many beers," the Tribune reports.

"With that in mind, police met Friday afternoon with bar and restaurant owners from the area surrounding U.S. Cellular Field in Bridgeport."

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That reminds me of an article I wrote for the Tribune in 1993 about White Sox bars. I met two women along the way who became my Sox Side tour guides - including getting me in to the Stadium Club, as the article mentions. They also introduced me to the Redwood Lounge.

In another bar, a group of guys told me they were close to kicking my ass - or at least chasing me out - when they heard I worked for the anti-union Tribune, but then they noticed I was wearing union sneakers (Converse, I believe) and drinking union beer.

I had a few beers during the reporting, naturally. When I returned to the newsroom, editors asked if I was okay to write the story. I do believe I couldn't have been better.

I still have some White Sox swizzle sticks I swiped from somewhere, probably the Stadium Club, along with some cheap White Sox coasters. One of the women gave me her phone number, and somehow I lost it - to my immediate regret.

It's baseball, Ray!

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BeachBook
* The Score's Les Grobstein Apparently Dropped A Deuce On-Air During His Overnight Shift.

* On Being A Poor Student At An Elite University.

* Missing The CIA's Translations Of Foreign News Reports.

* In Beverly, Integration Is No Accident.

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TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: We're No. 2.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Since 1969 The Allman Brothers Band has captivated fans with its virtuosity, soul and unique blend of rock, jazz, blues and psychedelic rock. In what might be its last year as a band, Jim and Greg discuss its complicated history with Allman biographer Alan Paul. Then they review the new album from Atlanta garage rockers The Black Lips."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Perspectivas Latinas: La Casa Norte

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Sol Flores and Christina Obregon of La Casa Norte discuss how the organization serves as a catalyst for families confronting homelessness to find assistance and transform their lives.

Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21 / Es Espanol on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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Perspectivas Latinas: Casa Aztlán

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Executive Director Carlos Arango shares how Casa Aztlán serves as an educational and social center for the community, providing cultural activities, educational services and community organizing for immigrants' civil rights.

Saturday at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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CAN TV Complete Coverage: Creative Chicago Expo

CAN TV provides complete, unedited coverage of the 2014 Creative Chicago Expo keynotes. These speakers are all Chicagoans who've gained national and international acclaim for pioneering new strategies in their creative fields.

Designer Maria Pinto

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Maria Pinto, whose unique designs were worn by Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, launched her own ready-to-wear line with a successful Kickstarter campaign and currently has work on display as part of the permanent collection at The Field Museum in Chicago.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Chef and Restaurateur Carrie Nahabedian

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Carrie Nahabedian opened NAHA in Chicago, which won a James Beard Award and Michelin stars four years in a row, making her one of only 10 female chefs in the U.S. to earn a Michelin star.

Sunday at 10 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Producer Robert Teitel

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Robert Teitel produced some of the most successful urban films and television series' in motion picture history, including the comedies Soul Food, Barbershop and Beauty Shop.

Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on CAN TV21.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:19 AM | Permalink

March 28, 2014

Tweeting Quinn

From his Chicago Tonight interview on Thursday.

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Gotta click on the pic.

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Not the obvious follow-up, but a nice one it would have been nonetheless.

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Don't reward Rauner for coming up with a gimmick; vet the allegations.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:04 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

A bellwether of the dwindling interest in CNN's Chicagoland is the decline in Twitter traffic; there wasn't even a lot of hate-watching going on last night.

Still, we've got the best of it in Tweeting Chicagoland 4.

Tuffy and the Angry Aussie will also continue our weekly discussion of the show on our Saturday podcast.

Also on the podcast docket: This week's decision by a National Labor Relations Board officer that Northwestern University football players are employees, and thus eligible to form a union.

The case, it turns out, was a slam dunk. So much for the pundits.

The Week In Juvey
From an unwanted Chicago gang initiation gone wrong to a United Nations panel searing the United States' hypocrisy, with stops in Florida, Utah and Los Angeles in between.

Big Problem
"BP today more than doubled its maximum estimate of how much crude oil spilled into Lake Michigan earlier this week from its Whiting refinery in Northwest Indiana," Michael Hawthorne reports for the Tribune.

"In a statement, the company said a malfunction in a new distillation unit forced up to 39 barrels or 1,638 gallons of oil into the lake just across the Illinois border. A day earlier, the company had estimated that 18 barrels at most had been spilled."

By at most they meant at least.

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"Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have said the spill likely poses no long-term risks to Lake Michigan, the source of drinking water for 7 million people in Chicago and the suburbs."

At least.

TribCare
Breaking news headline on the Tribune's website this morning: "Public Gradually Warming To Obamacare: Polls."

The story: "As Obamacare sign-ups hit the politically important threshold of 6 million this week, new polling has shown that the public has begun to warm a bit to the controversial law."

AP's "Big Story" this morning: "Poll: Obama Health Law Fails To Gain Support."

The story: "Despite a late surge in sign-ups, support for President Barack Obama's health care law is languishing at its lowest level since passage of the landmark legislation four years ago, according to a new poll."

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Also noted: The "politically important threshold of 6 million" is only "politically important" because the White House revised its initial thresholds down until it got to a makeable goal that it could tout, though it is still far below what it originally estimated.

Doubling Down
"Tribune Co. closed out 2013, its first full year since emerging from bankruptcy, with a double-digit revenue decline during the fourth quarter," the Tribune reports.

That's okay - the company revised its politically important threshold to a triple-digit decline, so this is a win.

Exclusive Threshold
With Pat Quinn appearing before the Sun-Times editorial board, on Chicago Tonight, at Crain's and probably in my front hallway right now, I'm wondering about the Sun-Times newsroom's threshold for the word "exclusive."

See also: Tweeting Quinn.

Code Blue Hoo Hoo 2
An observant reader who read the item "Code Blue Hoo Hoo" in Thursday's column naming Melissa Stratton the day's Worst Person In Chicago reminded me of this other recent appearance Stratton made in the news:

"A lawsuit filed by a veteran female police officer accuses the Chicago Police Department of protecting the bad guys and punishing the good ones," Mary Mitchell reported for the Sun-Times

"Until two years ago, Laura Kubiak was assigned to the Chicago Police Department's Office of News Affairs. Kubiak alleges she was abruptly reassigned to a beat patrol in retaliation for complaining that another officer assaulted her in the workplace.

"According to the lawsuit, Kubiak appealed to Melissa Stratton, who was then the director of news affairs, and to Lt. Maureen Biggane, Kubiak's supervisor, about the alleged assault. Both women are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

"'[I]t was clear' the two women 'did not want to discuss' it and 'did not want her to further report [the allegation],' according to the lawsuit.

"In fact, Kubiak said Stratton warned her not to 'embarrass the Superintendent.'"

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Heartlight
A Jefferson Park kitchen.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Julieta Venegas, Kraftwerk, CallActive, Johnny Blas & His Afro-Libre Orquestra, Son Lux, Consume The Divide, The Neighbourhood, Scott Stapp, and Children of Bodom.

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BeachBook
* Theo's Plan Working; Ricketts Family Getting Richer.

* Lakeview Principal Wants New Survey Of Her Performance After Some Vanish.

* Divorce Averted As Downers Grove Couple Finds Misplaced Million-Dollar Lottery Ticket.

* University Of Chicago Raises Tuition By Another 4 Percent And They Don't Even Have A Unionized Football Team.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Just like Tom Thumb's blues.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:47 AM | Permalink

Why NU Football Players Are Employees

"The regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago, Peter Sung Ohr, ruled Wednesday that Northwestern University football players are university employees and entitled to an election that will determine whether they can form a union," ESPN reports. "The blockbuster ruling and Ohr's reasoning raise significant legal questions."

Let's take a look.

"Ohr based his conclusion primarily on the enormous revenue and benefit that result from the efforts of the Northwestern football players and on the rigorous control that Wildcats coaches have over the lives of the scholarship athletes," ESPN's Chicago-based legal analyst Lester Munson told the network.

"The first thing that Ohr mentioned as he began to explain his decision was that Northwestern enjoyed football revenue of $235 million over the nine years between 2003 and 2012.

"Clearly impressed with that enormous income, Ohr explained somewhat unnecessarily that the university could use this 'economic benefit' in 'any manner it chose.'

"It wasn't just the money, though, Ohr added. There is also the 'great benefit' of the 'immeasurable positive impact to Northwestern's reputation a winning football team may have.'

"Ohr also was impressed with the hour-by-hour, day-by-day control that the coaching staff has over players' lives.

"He devoted more than 10 pages of his 24-page opinion to a detailed description of practice schedules, workout requirements and coaches' supervision, including approval of living arrangements, registration of automobiles, control of the use of social media (a player must be connected to a coach), dress codes, restrictions on off-campus travel and demanding study schedules.

"It was the kind of control, Ohr concluded, that an employer has over an employee, not the kind of control a school has over a student."

Here's full video of Munson:

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Munson says Northwestern has a tough road ahead regarding an appeal.

"Northwestern will have a difficult time convincing the labor board in Washington that Ohr was wrong. In addition, Northwestern will be up against three members of the board recently appointed by President Barack Obama who are likely to lean in the direction of the union and against the university."

Not sure why Obama appointees should be assumed to be pro-union, but there you go.

Munson also said in an interview for which I could not find video that Ohr's ruling was essentially airtight. I agree. Ohr destroyed what turned out to be a rather weak case presented by Northwestern. To wit:

The Employer's Football Players are Subject to Special Rules

As has already been alluded to, the Employer's players (both scholarship players and walk-ons) are subject to certain team and athletic department rules set forth, inter alia, in the Team Handbook that is applicable solely to the Employer's players and Northwestern's Athletic Department Handbook. Northwestern's regular student population is not subject to these rules and policies . . .

Similarly, players are required to disclose to their coaches detailed information pertaining to the vehicle that they drive.

The players must also abide by a social media policy, which restricts what they can post on the internet, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

In fact, the players are prohibited from denying a coach's 'friend' request and the former's postings are monitored.

The Employer prohibits players from giving media interviews unless they are directed to participate in interviews that are arranged by the Athletic Department.

Players are prohibited from swearing in public, and if a player 'embarrasses' the team, he can be suspended for one game. A second offense of this nature can result in a suspension up to one year.

Players who transfer to another school to play football must sit out a year before they can compete for the new school.

Players are prohibited from profiting off their image or reputation, including the selling of merchandise and autographs.

Players are also required to sign a release permitting the Employer and the Big Ten Conference to utilize their name, likeness and image for any purpose.

The players are subject to strict drug and alcohol policies and must sign a release making themselves subject to drug testing by the Employer, Big Ten Conference, and NCAA. The players are subject to anti-hazing and anti-gambling policies as well.

During the regular season, the players are required to wear a suit to home games and team issued travel sweats when traveling to an away football game. They are also required to remain within a six-hour radius of campus prior to football games.

If players are late to practice, they have to attend one hour of study hall on consecutive days for each minute they were tardy. Players may also be required to run laps for violating less egregious team rules.

Even the players' academic lives are controlled as evidenced by the fact that they are required to attend study hall if they fail to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) in their classes. And irrespective of their GPA, all freshmen players must attend six hours of study hall each week.

Football Players' Time Commitment to Their Sport

The first week in August, the scholarship and walk-on players begin their football season with a month-long training camp, which is considered the most demanding part of the season.

In training camp (and the remainder of the calendar year), the coaching staff prepares and provides the players with daily itineraries that detail which football-related activities they are required to attend and participate in.

The itineraries likewise delineate when the players are to eat their meals and receive any necessary medical treatment

For example, the daily itinerary for the first day of training camp in 2012 shows that the athletic training room was open from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. so the players could receive medical treatment and rehabilitate any lingering injuries.

Because of the physical nature of football, many players were in the training room during these hours.

At the same time, the players had breakfast made available to them at the N Club.

From 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., any players who missed a summer workout (discussed below) or who were otherwise deemed unfit by the coaches were required to complete a fitness test. The players were then separated by position and required to attend position meetings from 8:30 a.m.

If the Employer is found to be in violation of NCAA regulations, it can be penalized by the imposition of practice limitations, scholarship reductions, public reprimands, fines, coach suspensions, personnel limitations, and postseason prohibitions.

It is undisputed that the Employer sells merchandise to the public, such as football jerseys with a player's name and number, that may or may not be autographed by the player . . .

The players were also required to watch film of their prior practices . . . Following these meetings, the players had a walk-thru from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at which time they scripted and ran football plays. The players then had a one-hour lunch during which time they could go to the athletic training room, if they needed medical treatment. From 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., the players had additional meetings that they were required to attend.

Afterwards, at 4:00 p.m., they practiced until team dinner, which was held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the N Club. The team then had additional position and team meetings for a couple of more hours. At 10:30 p.m., the players were expected to be in bed ("lights out") since they had a full day of football activities and meetings throughout each day of training camp.

After about a week of training camp on campus, the Employer's football team made their annual trek to Kenosha, Wisconsin for the remainder of their training camp where the players continued to devote 50 to 60 hours per week on football related activities.

After training camp, the Employer's football team starts its regular season which consists of 12 games played against other colleges, usually played on Saturdays, between the beginning of September and the end of November.

During this time, the players devote 40 to 50 hours per week to football-related activities, including travel to and from their scheduled games.

During each Monday of the practice week, injured players must report to the athletic training room to receive medical treatment starting at about 6:15 a.m.

Afterwards, the football coaches require the players to attend mandatory meetings so that they can begin to install the game plan for their upcoming opponent.

However, the only physical activity the coaches expect the players to engage in during this day is weightlifting since they are still recovering from their previous game.

The next several days of the week (Tuesday through Thursday), injured players must report to the athletic training room before practice to continue to receive medical treatment.

The coaches require all the players to attend mandatory practices and participate in various football- related activities in pads and helmets from about 7:50 a.m. until 11:50 a.m.

In addition, the players must attend various team and position meetings during this time period. Upon completion of these practices and meetings, the scholarship players attend a mandatory "training table" at the N Club where they receive food to assist them in their recovery. Attendance is taken at these meals and food is only provided to scholarship players and those walk-ons who choose to pay for it out of their own pocket . . .

During the regular competition season, the players' schedule is different on Friday than other days of the week because it is typically a travel day. For home games, the team will initially meet at 3:00 p.m. and have a series of meetings, walk-thrus and film sessions until about 6:00 p.m. The team will then take a bus to a local hotel where the players will be required to have a team dinner and stay overnight. In the evening, the players have the option of attending chapel and then watching a movie. At the conclusion of the movie, the players have a team breakdown meeting at 9:00 p.m. before going to bed.

About half of the games require the players to travel to another university, either by bus or airplane. In the case of an away game against the University of Michigan football team on November 9, 2012,15 the majority of players were required to report to the N Club by 8:20 a.m. for breakfast.

At 8:45 a.m., the offensive and defensive coaches directed a walk-thru for their respective squads. The team then boarded their buses at 10:00 a.m. and traveled about five hours to Ann Arbor, Michigan.16 At 4:30 p.m. (EST), after arriving at Michigan's campus, the players did a stadium walk-thru and then had position meetings from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The coaches thereafter had the team follow a similar schedule as the home games with a team dinner, optional chapel, and a team movie. The players were once again expected to be in bed by 10:30 p.m.

On Saturday, the day of the Michigan game, the players received a wake-up call at 7:30 a.m. and were required to meet for breakfast in a coat and tie by no later than 8:05 a.m. The team then had 20 minutes of meetings before boarding a bus and departing for the stadium at 8:45 a.m.

Upon arriving at the stadium, the players changed into their workout clothes and stretched for a period of time. They afterwards headed to the training room to get taped up, receive any medical treatment, and put on their football gear . . .

The football team's handbook states that "when we travel, we are traveling for one reason: to WIN a football game. We will focus all of our energy on winning the game."

However, the players are permitted to spend two or three hours studying for their classes while traveling to a game as long as they, in the words of Head Coach Fitzgerald "get their mind right to get ready to play . . ."

The Recruitment and Academic Life of the Employer's Grant-in-Aid Scholarship Players

The record makes clear that the Employer's scholarship players are identified and recruited in the first instance because of their football prowess and not because of their academic achievement in high school. Only after the Employer's football program becomes interested in a high school player based on the potential benefit he might add to the Employer's football program does the potential candidate get vetted through the Employer's recruiting and admissions process . . .

After being pre-approved for admission, recruits selected to receive an offer of scholarship are informed of their pre-admission via letter by Coach Fitzgerald notifying the potential players:

"CONGRATULATIONS, the Northwestern Football Staff and I would like to offer you a full scholarship... You possess the talent and embody the characteristics and values necessary to succeed at Northwestern University as a student-athlete on our football team" . . .

According to Blais, there are no written guidelines in terms of a minimum GPA or standardized test score that a football recruit must have to gain admission to the University. She testified that the lowest GPA for a football recruit that she recalled discussing with the admissions office was 2.78 (on scale of 4.0) . . .

According to senior quarterback Kain Colter, following a successful high school football career, the Employer admitted him due to his football skills as his academic record was "decent." He also testified that he based his decision to attend Northwestern on football considerations (i.e. they were going to let him play quarterback).

But he still had aspirations of going to medical school and attempted to take a required chemistry class in his sophomore year. At that time, Colter testified that his coaches and advisors discouraged him from taking the class because it conflicted with morning football practices.

Colter consequently had to take this class in the Summer session, which caused him to fall behind his classmates who were pursuing the same pre-med major. Ultimately he decided to switch his major to psychology which he believed to be less demanding.

Colter further testified that those players receiving scholarships were not permitted to miss football practice during the regular season if they had a class conflict. On the other hand, walk-ons were permitted to leave practice a little early in order to make it to class.

This continued in the Spring with scholarship players being told by their coaches and academic/athletic advisors that they could not take any classes that started before 11:00 a.m. as they would conflict with practice.

Even during the Summer session, players were generally only permitted to enroll in classes that were 6 weeks long since the classes that were 8 weeks long would conflict with the start of training camp . . .

The Revenues and Expenses Generated by the Employer's Football Program

The Employer's football team generates revenue in various ways including: (1) ticket sales; (2) television broadcast contracts with various networks; and (3) the sale of football team merchandise.

The Employer reported to the Department of Education that its football team generated total revenues of $235 million and incurred total expenses of $159 million between 2003 and 2012.

For the 2012-2013 academic year, the Employer reported that its football program generated $30.1 million in revenue and $21.7 million in expenses.

However, the latter figure does not include costs to maintain the stadium which total between $250,000 and $500,000 per calendar year.

In addition, the profit realized from the football team's annual revenue is utilized to subsidize the Employer's non-revenue generating sports (i.e. all the other varsity sports with the exception of men's basketball). This, in turn, assists the Employer in ensuring that it offers a proportionate number of men's and women's varsity sports in compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 . . .

The Applicable Legal Standard

As the record demonstrates, players receiving scholarships to perform football-related services for the Employer under a contract for hire in return for compensation are subject to the Employer's control and are therefore employees within the meaning of the Act . . .

Grant-in-Aid Scholarship Football Players Perform Services for the Benefit of the Employer for Which They Receive Compensation

That the scholarships are a transfer of economic value is evident from the fact that the Employer pays for the players' tuition, fees, room, board, and books for up to five years. Indeed, the monetary value of these scholarships totals as much as $76,000 per calendar year and results in each player receiving total compensation in excess of one quarter of a million dollars throughout the four or five years they perform football duties for the Employer.

While it is true that the players do not receive a paycheck in the traditional sense, they nevertheless receive a substantial economic benefit for playing football. And those players who elect to live off campus receive part of their scholarship in the form of a monthly stipend well over $1,000 that can be used to pay their living expenses.

Equally important, the type of compensation that is provided to the players is set forth in a "tender" that they are required to sign before the beginning of each period of the scholarship. This "tender" serves as an employment contract and also gives the players detailed information concerning the duration and conditions under which the compensation will be provided to them.

Because NCAA rules do not permit the players to receive any additional compensation or otherwise profit from their athletic ability and/or reputation, the scholarship players are truly dependent on their scholarships to pay for basic necessities, including food and shelter.

Another consequence of this rule is that all of the players generally receive the same compensation for their services. In other words, the team's best scholarship player is paid as much as any other member of the Employer's football team receiving a scholarship . . .

The Employer's Grant-in-Aid Scholarship Players are Employees Under the Common Law Definition

In sum, based on the entire record in this case, I find that the Employer's football players who receive scholarships fall squarely within the Act's broad definition of "employee" when one considers the common law definition of "employee."

However, I find that the walk-ons do not meet the definition of "employee" for the fundamental reason that they do not receive compensation for the athletic services that they perform.

Unlike the scholarship players, the walk-ons do not sign a "tender" or otherwise enter into any type of employment contract with the Employer.

The walk-ons also appear to be permitted a greater amount of flexibility by the football coaches when it comes to missing portions of practices and workouts during the football season if they conflict with their class schedule.

In this regard, it is noted that both scholarship players who testified, Colter and Ward, testified that they did not enroll in classes that conflicted with their football commitments. This distinction is not surprising given that the players are compelled by the terms of their "tender" to remain on the team and participate in all its activities in order to maintain their scholarship.

The walk-ons, on the other hand, have nothing tying them to the football team except their "love of the game" and the strong camaraderie that exists among the players. That some of the walk-ons may also have aspirations of earning a football scholarship does not change the fact that they do not receive any compensation at that point in their collegiate football careers. Thus, the mere fact that they practice (and sometimes play) alongside the scholarship players is insufficient to meet the definition of "employee" . . .

The Employer's Grant-in-Aid Scholarship Football Players are not "Primarily Students"

[I]t cannot be said the Employer's scholarship players are "primarily students." The players spend 50 to 60 hours per week on their football duties during a one-month training camp prior to the start of the academic year and an additional 40 to 50 hours per week on those duties during the three or four month football season. Not only is this more hours than many undisputed full-time employees work at their jobs, it is also many more hours than the players spend on their studies . . .

The Petitioner is a Labor Organization Within the Meaning of the Act

At the hearing, the Petitioner introduced evidence that it was established to represent and advocate for certain collegiate athletes, including the Employer's players who receive scholarships, in collective bargaining with respect to health and safety, financial support, and other terms and conditions of employment.

A substantial portion of the Employer's scholarship players have also signed authorization cards seeking to have the Petitioner represent them for the purposes of collective bargaining, and some of them, have taken a more active role with the Petitioner, including Colter.

In addition, the players will presumably have the opportunity to participate in contract negotiations if the Petitioner is ultimately certified. Based on the evidence presented at the hearing and the Employer's conditional stipulation which was met, I find that the Petitioner is a labor organization within the meaning of the Act.

Booyah.

TweetWood

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Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:08 AM | Permalink

Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 4: Did We Mention That Rahm Loves (Black) Kids?

Lamer by the week.

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Newsman still finds Chicagoland credible.

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Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 2: Fixing The Facts.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 3: Get Me Write.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 3: Our Fact-Challenged Heroes.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:23 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Julieta Venegas at the Metro on Tuesday night.


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2. CallActive at the Chicago Music Hall on Wednesday night.

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3. Johnny Blas & His Afro-Libre Orquestra at Alhambra Palace on Tuesday night.

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4. Kraftwerk at the Riv on Thursday night.

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5. Son Lux at Schubas on Tuesday night.

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6. Consume The Divide at Bobby McGee's in Chicago Ridge on Sunday night.

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7. The Neighbourhood at the Aragon on Monday night.

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8. Scott Stapp at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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9. Children of Bodom at the House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:28 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen

Urban oasis.

jeffpkneighborskitchenwinflashorig.JPG(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:10 AM | Permalink

March 27, 2014

The [Thursday] Papers

"The Chicago Cubs franchise is worth 20 percent more than it was last year despite another losing season, while value of the White Sox stayed put, according to Forbes' annual list of Major League Baseball team valuations," Danny Ecker notes for Crain's.

"The Cubs are worth $1.2 billion - fourth-highest value in the league and 42 percent more than the Ricketts family paid for the team in 2009, according to Forbes."

In other news, Ricketts family reminds fans it takes great courage to be patient.

Burke Shirk
"Anne Burke shared some behind-the-scenes stories of her life as an Illinois Supreme Court justice [Tuesday] during a Rotary Club of Chicago luncheon," Shia Kapos reports for Crain's.

Except for the story we're all still waiting to hear: How her appointment to the state's highest court was engineered by her "dearest friend."

Reporting Rauner

Don't we already know the answer to that question? Maybe ask him his latest version of how he clouted his daughter into Payton Prep. Or about he immediately changed his wardrobe and rhetoric upon winning the GOP nomination. Or what exactly he'll cut to balance the state's budget without raising taxes. (And if he says he'll convene a statewide task force, if that's what he does when he takes over companies as a private equity manager.) Or about this fact-check of his jobs claims. I've got more suggestions if you need them.

Missed Target

Let me fix that for you:

"In Chicago, Rahm Emanuel cut the number of clinics in half."

Always use the active voice.

Code Blue Hoo Hoo
"Rather than add trauma-ready ambulances to reduce the sometimes-alarming Chicago Fire Department response times in Chicago, city officials appear to be taking another tact: Trying to cover up the problem.

The Better Government Association and CBS2 recently obtained a memo in which a city official urges dispatchers to stop sounding so alarmist over the radio when ambulances aren't available to immediately respond to 911 calls.

In other words, soft-pedal it on the air when there's a shortage of "advanced life support," or ALS, ambulances. (They handle trauma cases including gunshot wounds and heart attacks, while "basic life support" or BLS ambulances handle less severe medical problems.)

According to the memo, dispatchers should not say: "No ALS ambulance anywhere close, you'll have to use BLS ambulance 82."

Nor should dispatchers say "We have no ALS available . . . the best we can do is BLS ambulance 86."

"Rather," the memo states, "we want to use a more measured message like '[Engine] 38 your ambulance is 86.'"

The city's response is also an example of managing a message instead of responding to a problem.

"Melissa Stratton, a spokeswoman for OEMC, said the memo was simply a reminder for dispatchers to use approved language.

"It's an informal internal document that was distributed . . . by a supervisor on the Fire Operations Floor to call takers and dispatchers, with the intention of reminding them to use the approved protocols for radio dispatch," Stratton said via e-mail.

Melissa Stratton, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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You can endorse Melissa for strategic communications here.

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Disclosure: I'm working on a couple reporting projects for the BGA right now. I would have written this item even if I wasn't.

Impeaching Rahm
"Timothy Flanagan, the former Illinois State University president who resigned shortly after a police investigation of an alleged confrontation with a school employee, has been charged with a misdemeanor in that incident, officials said Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

"Flanagan, whose resignation was approved Saturday in a special meeting of the board of trustees in Normal, allegedly yelled insults at Patrick Murphy, a university grounds crew employee 'inches away from his face' and flailed his arms in a manner that 'alarmed and disturbed' Murphy, according to a McLean County state's attorney's office news release."

If that's all it takes to charge someone with a misdemeanor and remove them from office, cops should be on their way over to the fifth floor of City Hall right now. That's just the Rahm getting warmed up every morning.

Obama Rewrites Iraq War
Another fairy tale.

Chicago Crime Up, Down, All Around
"I have served nine police superintendents, and each one had a different way of releasing numbers to the public," a retired Chicago police lieutenant writes.

"Through those years I have seen numbers inflated, ignored, exaggerated, manipulated, deflated and, yes, even made up."

Feder [Hearts] Goudie
And other local oxymorons.

Dudes In Wireless Soul Not Even Old Enough To Be Dudes
Straight outta da Chicago suburbs.

On The Road To Literacy
"This year's daylong session will feature 24 workshops whose speakers will be presenting strategies, techniques, materials and games to use to help tutors build their student's vocabulary, pronunciation, conversation, comprehension, reading, writing, computer and computational skill.

"Educators, staff, tutors, and new readers from adult literacy programs and government and social service agencies from throughout the Chicago area will lead the 50-minute presentations."

BeachBook
* How The Average McDonald's Makes Twice As Much As The Average Burger King.

Also tastes twice as better.

* The Chicago Tourism Board's Way Boring New Promo Video.

Narrated by legendardy journoshill Bill Kurtis.

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TweetWood

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Both administrations Democratic.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Simple, ruling.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:01 AM | Permalink

Obama Rewrites Iraq War

"Russia has pointed to America's decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy," the president said on Wednesday.

"Now, it is true that the Iraq war was a subject of vigorous debate, not just around the world but in the United States, as well. I participated in that debate, and I opposed our military intervention there. But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system."

History says differently:

"The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, declared explicitly for the first time last night that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal," the Guardian reported in 2004.

"Mr Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN security council or in accordance with the UN's founding charter. In an interview with the BBC World Service broadcast last night, he was asked outright if the war was illegal. He replied: 'Yes, if you wish.'

"He then added unequivocally: 'I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal.'"

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That's besides the obvious that lying a world into war violates the international system.

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But hat's not all that's wrong with Obama's statement.

1. "The Iraq war was a subject of vigorous debate."

So vigorous that both the New York Times and Washington Post have since apologized for one-sided coverage that relied on the falsities of the Bush administration.

2. "I participated in that debate."

Not true.

Consider:

"Obama gave the speech not just because of a desire to speak out about the coming war, [the book's author asserts] but also to try to curry favor with a potential political patron, Bettylu Saltzman, a stalwart among Chicago's liberal elite, and to win over political adviser David Axelrod, who was close to Saltzman.

"'Obama, still an unannounced candidate for the U.S. Senate, did not immediately agree to speak [at the rally],' according to an advance copy of the book obtained by the Tribune. 'But he told Saltzman that he would think it over.'

"After consulting with a political aide, Obama, who was personally opposed to the invasion, agreed to make the speech."

And then:

"In October 2002, Barack Obama gave his now-vaunted anti-war speech. Neither the Tribune nor the Sun-Times covered it. The Defender mentioned Obama's presence at the anti-war rally where the speech took place, but did not mention the speech itself."

So Obama reluctantly gave a speech that few people heard and went unreported.

There is no record of Obama ever mentioning Iraq again before the U.S. invasion in March 2003.

3. "I opposed our military intervention there."

Once. In that speech.

And: "Obama Did Hedge His Iraq War Opposition At Times."

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Bonus Lie: "It's not America that filled the Maidan with protesters. It was Ukrainians."

Maybe try taking credit when it's due.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:30 AM | Permalink

On The Road To Literacy

Whether you're new at volunteer tutoring or have been tutoring for years, whether you tutor teens or adults, there is always something for everyone at the annual On The Road to Literacy Conference.

This year's event will be held on Saturday, April 12th, beginning at 9 a.m. at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Co-sponsors are the Literacy Volunteers of Illinois and the UIC Center for Literacy.

This year's daylong session will feature 24 workshops whose speakers will be presenting strategies, techniques, materials and games to use to help tutors build their student's vocabulary, pronunciation, conversation, comprehension, reading, writing, computer and computational skill.

Educators, staff, tutors, and new readers from adult literacy programs and government and social service agencies from throughout the Chicago area will lead the 50-minute presentations.

The conference will conclude at 1:30 p.m. with the annual Tutor of the Year Awards presentation, which recognizes the good work of volunteer tutors throughout the Chicago area.

Early registration for the On The Road to Literacy Conference is $20 for tutors, $15 for students (high school, college or adult learners). After April 5th, registration is $23 for tutors and $18 for students. Registration covers morning refreshments, box lunch and all conference materials.

For further information call (312) 857-1582 or visit lvillinois.org for a schedule, listing of workshops and registration information.

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LV-Illinois is a resource center providing literacy programs with staff and tutor training, AmeriCorps programming, tutor referrals, program management assistance, and advocacy.

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See also: UIC Center for Literacy To Hire 500 Chicago Teens For Summer Programming.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:08 AM | Permalink

Local TV Notes: Giuliana Ranic And Truth In Advertising Are Oxymorons

1. Hard Not To Conclude That Giuliana Rancic Deserved The Treatment Russell Crowe Gave Her. ("Are you excited to be here?")

2. Former Chicago Comic Writes For Awful Chicago-Based "Comedy" Sirens.

3. "Truth In Advertising" An Oxymoron?

"Advertising watchdog TruthInAdvertising.org will launch its first national advertising campaign early next week aiming to get consumers to report false advertising and marketing.


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4. The Hippest Trip On TV Is Now A Book.

5. Kitchen Hell.

"After two episodes of Hell's Kitchen, season 12, Woodstock's Scott Commings has managed to avoid elimination and survive the wrath of the Fox TV show's chef Gordon Ramsay. Viewers can tune in at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27, to see if Commings makes it through to another round," the Woodstock Independent reports.

"Commings, who has worked as an executive chef and gardener at Loyola University Chicago Retreat and Ecology campus in Woodstock for the past four years, was called onto the show when producers found his name floating around for cooking shows, which he had entered in mostly for fun. After interviews and callbacks, he headed out to Los Angeles for filming in 2013."

6. Relax, Montana.

7. Feder [Hearts] Goudie.

"While much of what passes for news on local television has hit the skids, fortunately there's still something to be said for solid, old-fashioned investigative reporting in Chicago," Robert Feder "reports."

"Exhibit A is the I-Team at WLS-Channel 7, where chief investigative reporter Chuck Goudie, a 34-year veteran of the ABC-owned station, heads a franchise that has expanded its brand, doubled its personnel and elevated local TV to a new competitive level in recent months."

Feder's love letter conspicuously fails to note Goudie's most recent embarrassment.

8. Dynamic Ethnic Chicago Family Running A Small Business Wanted.

Conflict required; photogenic a plus. Oh, and that family running a business thing. And be "ethnic."

9. Lawsuit: Legendary Chicago TV Car Salesman Uses Dealership As 'Personal Piggy Bank.'

10. Lindsay Is Currently The Best Thing On TV.

No need to apologize for watching.

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Oprah is shameless; a walking tonful of passive-aggressiveness. Lindsay is friendless and astonishingly lacking in self-awareness. The producers and crew are vultures. The paparazzi are disgusting immoral creatures. Lindsay unintentionally holds a mirror to everyone involved - including the personal assistants, personal trainers, personal sober coaches - and reflects a whole lot of ugly. This show should be taught in schools every week.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:35 AM | Permalink

The Dudes In Wireless Soul Aren't Even Old Enough To Be Dudes

That's 11-year-old Vince Minogue on guitar and lead vocals, 13-year-old Tyler Senzel on bass and 9-year-old Wolfgang Paul on drums.

From the March 15, 2014, St. Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago.


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Seven-Nation Army

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T.N.T.

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We're Not Gonna Take It

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See also:
* WirelessSoul.Net.

* On Facebook.

* Tickets: Skokie Theater, April 5.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:50 AM | Permalink

Crime Is Up And Down

During my 33 years as a Chicago Police Officer, one of the things I learned is that numbers play an important role in law enforcement. The biggest lesson was that numbers don't lie but some people lie about numbers.

Here in Chicago, we hear about numbers almost on a daily basis as they relate to crime here in our city. Over the years on the job, I have served nine police superintendents, and each one had a different way of releasing numbers to the public. Through those years I have seen numbers inflated, ignored, exaggerated, manipulated, deflated and, yes, even made up.

However, as the press in our city became more and more probing with highly skilled investigative reporters who were armed with "freedom of information requests," a new way of handling police statistics and numbers gave way to creativity.

Crime stats are usually given out on a year-by-year comparison. If crime was down, we saw the triumphant press conferences announcing how well we were doing. If crime was up, we would tout arrests and try and find a logical reason that did not smack of police incompetence.

Recently, an odd thing has been happening - and I only say odd because I have have not witnessed it before. In the year 2012, when Chicago's 512 murders were the talk of the country, what with our mayor being called Murder Mayor by the head of the Chicago Teachers Union and our city being compared to the war zone in Afghanistan, things have changed significantly.

I am tethered to Chicago by a wife who works full time as a Chicago police officer and our beloved Siberian Husky Lille, who requires at least two hours of romping in her favorite climate: the more snow and cold the better (boy did she enjoy this year). So I have not fled the city and become a snowbird. I follow all the news on a daily basis and of course I am especially attuned to the crime talk and how it is reported.

All during 2012, when we were experiencing horrendous stories of shootings and as the murder rate soared (including, shamefully, many innocent victims), I heard almost on a daily basis from our city leaders that "crime is down."

I immediately wondered what crimes are down (treason, horse thievery, thefts of sewer covers?). I tried to get some answers to no avail. However, I do know that several things have changed in the way murders are currently being classified by our police department.

In past years, all homicides were listed in the final count; this included police-related shootings and self-defense shootings. Tthey were all homicides. all counted in the record books, but classified as "justifiable." It's not splitting hairs by any means because if you are going to start saying we are declining the homicide rate, this has to reflect how those were tallied in the past.

If we look at the numbers that the medical examiner releases, we can see a big discrepancy between those numbers and the city-released numbers. The past math has to come into the way we now reflect the numbers. Is this being deceptive or is the press and the public just not interested enough in the facts?

At a recent city council hearing on crime, one of our alderman said to current police superintendent Garry McCarthy, "Sir I'm looking at your numbers here and they tell me that crime is down but I just have to say it sure does not seem like it what with all the violence in my ward. I think we should do a better job of getting this information out to the public.

I could not help to think of weathecasters who tell us that it's 20 degrees but then say "But it feels like 10 below because of the wind chill."

Earlier this month, McCarthy held a press conference and stated that in the first part of this year, crime was at one of its all-time low, including gang-related shootings.

Well, maybe if you were a snowbird and you just dropped back in to the city you would probably say, "Boy, that's great!"

My question is: Who decides what a gang-related shooting is and where is that information kept?

Is there a new way of deciding that statistic?

Because I have not left the city, I know that we experienced some of the coldest weather in our history; it was also ranked the third snowiest winter on record. I have a gut feeling that the weather has played a more important role in lowering the crime rate than any one's man's strategy.

Now, I sincerely hope that McCarthy is right when he says it's his strategies that is the force behind the dramatic drop in crime, but there's that old instinct again that reminds me of the Great American General, Anthony McAuliffe, when given a German surrender ultimatum at the Battle of the Bulge. His answer was "Nuts!"

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Bob Angone is a retired Chicago police lieutenant. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:00 AM | Permalink

March 26, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Will Quinn advocate keeping the income tax hike? Aide won't say," Sun-Times reporter Dave McKinney tweeted Tuesday.

Well, your paper's political reporter just had an "exclusive" interview with the governor, maybe she should have asked!

Instead, we got questions such as this: "People say don't underestimate Pat Quinn. What do you say to that?"

See also the item Exclusive 101 in Monday's column. Look at my first two suggested questions. You had him right there.

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"Gov. Pat Quinn has prepared an election-year spending proposal that would make permanent the 67 percent income tax increase set to expire in 2015 and couple it with property tax relief for homeowners, sources familiar with the plan said Tuesday," the Tribune reports this morning.

A "source" no doubt authorized to leak the bad news in order to put a favorable spin on a plan no one else has otherwise seen and is able to comment on - in advance of officially unveiling the proposal as a way of framing the issue as part of a PR campaign that has so far successfully enlisted Chicago reporters as tools.

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If a "source" comes to you with a "story" like this, there's nothing wrong with saying "That's interesting. We'll write about it once he says it publicly and we see the details."

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The Sun-Times also has the story this morning, based on "sources briefed on the plan."

Sources briefed to get it out there without attaching their names to it.

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Alternate:

"In advance of a campaign-year budget address on Wednesday, aides inside Gov. Pat Quinn's office tried selling reporters in off-the-record 'leaks' on a plan to make permanent a 2011 tax hike that at the time was termed temporary.

"None of the aides would provide details of the plan nor allow their names to be used as sources, though their approach to reporters clearly had been approved by Quinn. Quinn refused to say himself that he had made any such decision, let alone talk about it to reporters.

"The public relations strategy illustrates the care with which Quinn is trying to gain early control of the tax plan's narrative, which is likely to become a main theme in his campaign against Republican private equity manager Bruce Rauner. Rauner has already gotten a jump on Quinn by pushing out to the media the meme that Quinn will be breaking a promise Wednesday by calling for making the temporary tax hike permanent.

"Quinn, in refusing to talk to reporters himself, also refused to rebut that charge or explain in any way how his plan was, indeed, anything but a broken promise."

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You know those "Don't drive into a pizzeria" et. al. DirecTV commercials? There's gotta be one for journalists that ends with "Don't be a tool."

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Feds Slap Down Rahm's Police Chief
"The U.S. Department of Justice has decided a federal monitor must run the Newark force, according to the Newark Star-Ledger," Dan Mihapolous writes for the Sun-Times.

Why is that important to us here in Chicago?

"A Newark city government spokeswoman said Tuesday that the monitor's appointment was not yet finalized but was the 'likely' outcome of a federal probe of the department that focused on [Garry] McCarthy's tenure there."

Oops!

"The U.S. attorney's office in New Jersey announced it was opening the investigation into the Newark police on May 9, 2011, days before Emanuel was sworn in as Chicago mayor. Emanuel had just introduced McCarthy as his first top cop."

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"The decision follows a federal review of the way the state's largest police force swept aside accusations of misconduct against hundreds of officers and its almost-total failure to address complaints of brutality and abuse lodged by Newark residents over the years," the Star-Ledger reported last month."

Rahm has to seriously review his vetting operation.

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"Questioned about the sheer number of complaints dismissed by his internal affairs unit, McCarthy shrugged at the data.

"So the cop always has to be wrong?" McCarthy told The Star-Ledger in 2010. "Drug dealers make allegations against police officers every day to stop them from doing their job."

But wait, isn't McCarthy the data chief?

Because the data is pretty devastating.

"The ACLU cited a culture of brutality fostered in Newark's ranks over decades. A subsequent Star-Ledger examination found significant flaws in Newark's internal affairs procedures under the watch of Police Director Garry McCarthy, who held the position from 2006 to 2011.

"From 2006 to 2009, the department received more than 500 complaints accusing officers of excessive force, illegal searches, false arrests or differential treatment, according to records obtained by The Star-Ledger. Disciplinary charges were brought in just six of those cases, according to the records.

"A 2010 Star-Ledger analysis of internal affairs records also showed the department failed to report the outcome of one out of every 10 complaints against its officers to the state Attorney General's Office from 2000 to 2008. All told, the results of 1,315 investigations were not reported properly."

So, perfect for Chicago.

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"McCarthy, who now runs the Chicago Police Department, could not be reached for comment."

He was busy filming with CNN.

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McCarthy is a media whore so it's always telling when he's "unavailable" for comment.

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In fact, on Chicagoland he said managing the media was one of his top three agenda items - behind, you know, crime and stuff.

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This seems like an apt time to pull this from the archives:

"For Garry F. McCarthy, the nominee for Newark police director, the trouble began last year with a parking infraction at a rest stop on the Palisades Interstate Parkway," the New York Times reported in 2006.

"It spiraled into a wrangle - part wrestling match and part shouting match - that led to his arrest and handcuffing.

"On Tuesday, a Superior Court judge here added another chapter in this tale of officer versus officer when he rejected Mr. McCarthy's attempt to dismiss his conviction on the parking matter. He instead scolded Mr. McCarthy - a deputy police commissioner in New York City - with 'extraordinarily poor judgment.'

"In a stinging rebuke, the judge, Patrick J. Roma, in Superior Court in Bergen County, also wrote that Mr. McCarthy's objective in confronting the officers was to 'throw his weight around' and to try to win 'special consideration' for his 18-year-old daughter, who had been given a ticket at the rest stop."

It gets better; clicking through is highly recommended.

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The House That Chicago Built
A secret story about to be told.

MSNBC Is Worse Than RT
Abby Martin still has her job; Cenk Uygur doesn't.

Slouching Toward Opening Day
Javy Baez vs. Luis Valbuena.

Fingerprints Of A Daydream
Boot prints become Evidence.

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BeachBook
Nature's Struggle Shows What Human Greed Has Done To Chicago.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Absolutely.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:47 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Slouching Toward Opening Day

Spring training is wrapping up in the next day or two, leaving fantasy baseball team owners a few days without baseball to ponder whether they made the right draft decisions.

As you do so, don't let spring training stats weigh too heavily on you. Will Mike Moustakas hit .467 for the next six months? Probably not. Will Madison Baumgarner go unscored upon for the entire regular season, as he did through four spring training starts? Unlikely. Will Luis Valbuena lead the league in HRs, as he did for spring training? Well, perhaps in a parallel universe.

Those questions, of course, are unrealistic questions, but here a few a few real ones to ponder as the table is set for the regular season (or the rest of it, since MLB insisted on already playing two games last weekend).

1. Will Craig Kimbrel see his fantasy value diminished by a spate of injuries to Atlanta starters?

This is a pretty fair question, as at least three potential Braves starters have now suffered season-ending or long-term injuries. I'm guessing it will slash his save opportunities, though I think the Braves still have decent starter depth, with Julio Teheran, Ervin Santana, Alex Wood, and now introducing via free agency, Aaron Harang. The Braves also still have a potent offense. I'm still listing Kimbrel as my top closer for now.

2. Was it a mistake to draft Javier Baez?

Not if you drafted him in the last couple of rounds, when every pick is a low-risk gamble. Baez was sent to the minors, but he will be back up sooner rather than later. I'm betting he'll get 300 to 400 at-bats at the major league level this year, making him worth a bench spot if you can spare it, especially if your league is competitive about prospects. The tape measure spring HRs were fun to watch, but again, don't keep him based on that, but rather the fact that he plays a position with shallow fantasy value.

3. Will Yasiel Puig match his 2013 fantasy value?

Let's not consider his dismal spring stats, including a .122 AVG, which you could cancel out with his 3-for-5, two-RBI performance in Game 2 of the Opening Series last weekend. Character issues seem to be trailing Puig, and possibly injury concerns, as he was pulled late in Game 2. Don't panic yet. I think Puig will light up the stat sheet when he plays, but if you own him, I would invest in some outfield depth and monitor the fantasy news wire closely so you can sit/start him as needed.

Expert Wire
* XN Sports features spring training trends to watch, including the rise of Baez, if you really want to invest in sprint training stats (Don't do it!).

* Bleacher Report brings its latest position rankings.

* The Sporting News assesses the Reds' closer situation with Aroldis Chapman likely out for the first month or two after getting hit in the face by a line drive.

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Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:55 AM | Permalink

MSNBC Is Worse Than RT

Abby Martin still has her job; Cenk Uygur does not.


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Flashback:

Al Sharpton Replacing Me Because He's Friendlier To Obama

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From the Beachwood vault, February 7, 2013:

"By the way, the man in the video is Cenk Uygur, who was hired by MSNBC on the strength of his work here on his Young Turks show, but then replaced by Al Sharpton right before the presidential campaign because Sharpton promised to support the president while Uygur promised to do his job as a journalist. But let's keep talking about how stupid Fox News viewers are."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Fingerprints Of A Daydream

FINGERPRINTS OF A DAYDREAM

I passed the ghosts
Of last year's tulips
Turning back south

At the hospital power plant,
Walking an errand for supplies -
For survival -

Through the soft, fresh snow.

I came back across
My own footsteps
In the virgin layer

Like a diagram
For a modern dance.

Boot prints,
Like silhouettes
In pearl dust.

I noticed my line
Wasn't entirely straight
And was mildly disturbed.

Apparently, I'd been
Daydreaming of pirouetting
Through tulips.

Boot prints become
Evidence, fingerprints
Of a daydream,

Fingerprints of a mind of winter,
A shield against the elements,
Hardened to the harshness,

Alive to the bliss.

Real winter is harsh
In the realm of smoke, stone
And steel. This one

Has been especially harsh,
Simple errands a danse macabre
Through a labyrinth of risk.

Each task is grim, each flight utilitarian,
No pedestal for pirouettes,
No promenade for peacocks.

One must concentrate
With all savage cunning
Just to fetch the mail.

Comes the thaw
And the tulips - like
The hands that plant them:

Elegant, sturdy
And resilient - ,
The first blooms of spring,

The transformation
From a dictatorship of white
To a democracy of color!

Each bloom a freed soul:
Oxblood, ultramarine, violet, lemon yellow,
Individuals reborn.

They'll adorn
This power plant within
A matter of weeks

If I can just survive.

The bitter breeze taunted me,
Dared me not to slip,
Mocked me for my frivolous

Daydream of dancing
Through tulips swaying in the shade.
But it wasn't frivolous at all.

It's an elegant evolutionary
Adaptation for survival,

Like a tulip's chalice blossom
Or a peacock's fan-tail of eyes:

It's a way
To survive.

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J.J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He welcomes your comments. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:41 AM | Permalink

The House That Chicago Built

The first official teaser - opening with a question "bigger than who shot Kennedy" in Chicago.

Or as one YouTube commenter says, "[T]he question of the ages. There has never been more arguments, controversies or problems than the answer to that question."


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"The House That Chicago Built is a new film that tells the real story of House Music for the first time ever," the film's website says.

"A film that covers House Music's entire history from its birth in Chicago through its evolution to becoming the world's No. 1 genre of music.

"Directed by the Founding Father, Lil Louis, the film doesn't just break new ground, but shakes the very foundation of the genre, traveling deep beneath the earth that House Music and EDM now stand on, down to the roots of its beginning, and filling all the holes left in the unframed history of hand-me-down, and often made-up Wikipedia stories about House.

"Told from a solely unique perspective, Lil Louis paints an unbiased, uncensored and unapologetically vivid picture, disclosing many 'tabooed' and unknown secrets about House Music, and the good, the bad and sometimes horrific hardships of growing up in Chicago."

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"The feature film, seven years in the making, is set for release in the coming months," according to Resident Advisor.

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"Lil Louis is the stage name used by Chicago-born house-music producer and DJ Louis Sims," according to Wikipedia.

"He scored a number of hits on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in the 1980s and 1990s, three of which hit #1."

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Here's one of 'em: "French Kiss."

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As far as the question goes, all we know here at Beachwood HQ is that if Frankie Knuckles didn't make it, he probably played it.

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House music's Wikipedia page.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:10 AM | Permalink

March 25, 2014

The [Tuesday] Papers

Making sense of the tweets of Ald. George Cardenas often requires special decoder glasses, and this one is no exception:

I don't get it. You should have more than a year on the job before getting the job? Training should last more than a year?

This particular operator was working the graveyard shift, which I'm guessing is what happens when you start out. Seems like an appropriate training ground for newbies. You've gotta get your own train sometime. And experience does not appear to be a factor in the investigation - unless the driver hasn't learned the tricks to staying awake on the job.

There is this, however.

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See also: Off The Rails: A Recent History Of CTA Screw-Ups.

Kirk Shirk
"Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., is ruling out campaigning for longshot GOP Illinois U.S. Senate nominee Jim Oberweis, saying Monday he would rather 'protect' his relationship with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and not launch a 'partisan jihad,'" the Sun-Times reports.

"With politics so bitter in the Capitol and the partisan divide often so wide, voters like pols who can work together."

I don't think Kirk should be made out to be a bipartisan hero on this one. If he's uncomfortable with Oberweis, he should have thrown his weight behind primary challenger Doug Truax.

It's also possible to campaign against Durbin in a respectful manner - Kirk must in his heart prefer a Republican colleague, no?

Voters may like pols who can work together, but voters don't like cynical, selfish and opportunistic pols, which is how Kirk is behaving.

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In addition, Kirk pretended he wasn't endorsing in the Republican gubernatorial primary even though he loaned staffers to Bruce Rauner and then showed up at Rauner's Election Night party (before the outcome was decided).

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"Last Nov. 7 at an Illinois 'coffee' in Washington hosted by Durbin and Kirk, a man in the audience said he appreciated their cooperation."

Durbin held regular "coffees" with Peter Fitzgerald too; his relationship with Kirk isn't necessarily unusual.

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Durbin should be challenged just like anyone else. This is exactly the kind of thing that creates Tea Party caucuses and right-wing challenges to moderate Republicans of the Establishment. Giving Durbin a free ride is an abdication of Kirk's responsibility. And if the party is embarrassed by Oberweis, which it ought to be, it shouldn't have given him a free ride in the primary.

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Will Durbin support a Dem challenge to Kirk in 2016? He better.

Sister Act
"Chicago could look to impose its own kind of sanctions on Russia amid the Crimean conflict," the Tribune reports.

"The city's Committee of Human Relations will listen to testimony today on a resolution that would ask the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to suspend the Sister City agreement with Moscow until Russia withdraws troops from Crimea."

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I wrote about the city's Sister Cities program for the Tribune in 1993: Sister Cities Cash In On Family Ties.

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GWAR's Frontman Rocked Chicago
Remembering Dave Brockie.

Don Lemon Is At It Again
Bill O'Reilly and black holes.

In Support Of Joe Hosey
Journalism in America under attack.

The White Sox Report
Giddy in Glendale.

The Hippest Trip In America Is Now A Book
Nelson George does Soul Train.

49% Believe U.S. Government Trying To Kill Them
What the MSM won't tell you: They're right!

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BeachBook
* Marfa Public Radio Benefit At Longman & Eagle Tonight.

Marfa Public Radio is a friend of the Beachwood; it was founded by Chicago-expat Tom Michael, of the late great radio show Tom's Town.

* 100 Years Of Railroad Progress: Chicago Railroad Fair 1948 Educational Documentary.

Alternately called Wheels-A-Rolling.

* Unless Companies Pay, Their Facebook Updates Reach Only 6 Percent Of Followers.

Which is one reason why I've started posting some (not all) of our Facebook links here, because our Facebook page really rocks and it needs to reach more people.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Insourced.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:55 AM | Permalink

In Support Of Joe Hosey

The Reporters Committee, joined by a coalition of 38 other media organizations, filed a friend-of-the-court brief last week in support of a Patch.com reporter in Chicago who was ordered to testify about his confidential source in a murder trial.

Reporter Joseph Hosey was ordered to reveal the identity of the source who supplied him with a police report that contained details of the double murder. The judge in the trial court applied the state's shield law to Hosey but nonetheless found that the privilege had been overcome, finding that the identity of the source was relevant, alternative sources had been exhausted, and the information was essential to protect the public interest.

Much of that finding hinged on the fact that the court made 500 law enforcement officials swear that they were not the source, and thus finding out if one of them was lying was "relevant" to the proceedings.

When Hosey still refused to disclose his source, the judge fined him $1,000 plus $300 a day until he complied. Hosey appealed, and the fines are on hold pending resolution of the appeal.

In the amicus brief, the Reporters Committee argued that the lower court misapplied the privilege, because the source of the report was not relevant to the murder trial itself.

"The reporter's privilege, meant to offer qualified protection to journalists from having to reveal their sources, cannot instead be used as a weapon against those very journalists," the brief argues.

"A defendant cannot spring a trap by requiring all potential sources to sign affidavits, under the guise of exhausting all available resources, and then assume that one of them lied and proclaim that discovering the identity of that person is relevant to the proceedings.

"To preserve the intent and purpose of the statute, the lower court's decision must be reversed."

The other organizations joining the coalition in Illinois v. McKee were: Allbritton Communications Company; American Society of News Editors; The Associated Press; Association of Alternative Newsmedia; Atlantic Media, Inc.; Bloomberg L.P.; CBS Broadcasting Inc.; The Chicago Headline Club; Courthouse News Service; The Daily Beast; The E.W. Scripps Company; First Amendment Coalition; Fox News Network LLC; Gannett Co., Inc.; Illinois Broadcasters Association; Illinois News Broadcasters Association; Illinois Press Association; Investigative Reporters and Editors; Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University; Journal Communications, Inc.; The McClatchy Company; MediaNews Group, Inc., d/b/a Digital First Media; The National Press Club; National Press Photographers Association; National Public Radio, Inc.; NBCUniversal Media, LLC; Newspaper Association of America; The Newspaper Guild - CWA; North Jersey Media Group Inc.; POLITICO LLC; Radio Television Digital News Association; The Seattle Times Company; Society of Professional Journalists; Stephens Media LLC; Sun-Times Media, LLC; Time Inc.; Tribune Company; and The Washington Post.

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See also:
* Media Organizations Stand With Patch In Confidential Source Case.

* Protecting Sources, Free Speech Vital For All U.S. Citizens.

* Reporter Faces Fine, Jail Time If He Doesn't Give Up Source.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:32 AM | Permalink

49% Of Americans Believe U.S. Government Is Trying To Kill Them

"A new study from the University of Chicago says that nearly half of all Americans believe medical conspiracy theories," RT reports.

"Researchers polled a bunch of people about whether or not they believed in six popular theories. 49% agreed with at least one. All the theories involve the US government doing terrible things to essentially kill people. Some in the MSM used the study to say people are nuts; The Resident thinks it says something else."


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From the study:

"Over the past 50 years, numerous conspiracy theories have materialized around public health matters such as water fluoridation, vaccines, cell phones, and alternative medicine. What remains unclear is whether the American public supports these conspiracy theories or whether they correlate with actual health behaviors."

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Here's the thing: while water flouridation and vaccine conspiracists are looney tunes, the government is spying on us, they have committed medical atrocities and regulators have failed to keep Corporate America from poisoning us. So are the results of this study really so outlandish? The U.S. government has no one but itself to blame.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:49 AM | Permalink

The Hippest Trip In America Is Now A Book

"In a publishing marketplace where 700 pages of text are not enough to encompass a movie star's life or a presidential administration, The Hippest Trip in America manages, semi-miraculously, to compress more than 30 years of rapier-keen social history and street-savvy cultural criticism within 230-odd pages," Gene Seymour writes for USA Today.

"The 'trip' chronicled in those pages by journalist-filmmaker Nelson George is the 1,117-episode run of Soul Train, the syndicated TV dance-and-music series. Its nationwide premiere in 1971 was perhaps the most auspicious signpost of a decade in which African-American culture, freed during the previous decade from the social and legal constraints of racial segregation, leapt to the forefront of mainstream pop as never before and, some might argue, never since.

"Soul Train, which ascended from humble beginnings as a local after-school program in Chicago to a phenomenon of national, if not global proportions, was in retrospect the cornerstone of this transformative era, setting the decade's agenda for music, dance and fashion."

Here's George talking about his book in two different videos:

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From the New York Daily News' review:

"The scene: Chicago, 1970. The character: Don Cornelius, an ambitious DJ with a revolutionary notion. He aims to present, for the first time on television, a regular showcase for African-American music.

"To land sponsorship, Cornelius presents his pitch to the Windy City's richest company, Sears. After some hemming and hawing, they give him the go-ahead but - to Cornelius' surprise - never ask for a single slice of the ownership pie.

"After all, who expects a local show aimed at a black audience in 1970 to make big money?"

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Previously:
* Soul Train's Hip Trip.

* Don Cornelius Was One Cool Cat.

* When Walter Payton Danced On Soul Train.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:26 AM | Permalink

Don Lemon Is At It Again

Former NBC Chicago anchor Don Lemon is a national joke to those who follow broadcast news and still manage to have half a brain, but he's recently been rewarded by CNN with a prime-time show of his own where he can ask the really tough questions like if Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was sucked into a black hole.


And that was just the latest.

"Lemon has spent the last several days exploring every crazy conspiracy theory on the internet, like something out of InfoWars or an Art Bell broadcast," Talking Points Memo reports.

"On Sunday, he brought up the possibility that 'the supernatural' was somehow involved in the disappearance. On Monday, he floated the idea that the plane could be hiding in North Korea."

It's bizarre to think that Lemon was once seen (by some) as a news savior.

"Earlier this year, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ran a segment titled 'CNN's Don Lemon appears to not care for CNN,'" Wyatt Williams wrote for Creative Loafing in Atlanta in 2011.

The clip shows the Atlanta-based 'CNN Newsroom' anchor, not an especially high-profile presence at the network, repeatedly going off-script live on the air.

He condescends to a fluff piece about Harry Potter and laughingly complains about an overwritten bit concerning fictional superheroes, to which Stewart interjects, "That may be the nicest way I've ever heard anyone say, 'Who writes this shit?'"

The segment's big punch line shows CNN morning anchor Ali Velshi staging some sort of parlor trick involving a broom, a silver platter, and an egg dropping from a toilet paper tube into a glass of water. The vibe is unflatteringly reminiscent of David Letterman's "Stupid Human Tricks."

After the trick is executed, Velshi says, "Oh! I got to tell you, I like Don Lemon a lot. But he's going to have to work hard to top that. 'CNN Newsroom' begins right now with Don Lemon. Good morning, Don."

Lemon responds, "Good morning, I don't think I'm going to have to work that hard. What the heck was that?"

The thing is, though, that Lemon has indeed topped that. Now he's the one performing Stupid Human Tricks.

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"During an on-air interview with members of Bishop Eddie Long's congregation on September 25, 2010, Lemon said that he was a victim of sexual abuse as a child," Wikipedia notes.

Which makes it all the more painful to hear him say things like this on the air:

But Lemon is pehaps best known for saying that Bill O'Reilly's racism doesn't go far enough.

Lemon pulls out a lot of chestnuts here that are both wrong and confuse race with class. For example:

"I've lived in several predominantly white neighborhoods in my life, I rarely, if ever, witnessed people littering. I live in Harlem now, it's an historically black neighborhood, every single day I see adults and children dropping their trash on the ground when a garbage can is just feet away. Just being honest here."

I've lived in predominantly black and white neighborhoods myself and I can't say I've ever noticed a difference in littering habits. Just go check out Lakeview. Now, folks in the suburbs don't tend to litter on residential streets. But check out the strip mall.

Let's also understand, again, that there is no such thing as black-on-black crime. There is, however, poor-on-poor crime. There isn't a racial motive, but an economic one. It would be nice to think that poor black criminals would take the time and energy (and resources) to go to white neighborhoods and do their robbing there, but it's not a political act.

Perhaps it's no surprise, then, to learn that he was involved with the Young Republicans while in college and is a huge Ronald Reagan fan - even as he complained in his book Transparent that Channel 5 wasn't interested in covering AIDS. I don't doubt that's true, but your presidential hero wasn't interested in AIDS either, Mr. Lemon.

(And for all the torment Lemon says he's faced being gay and, for most of his life, in the closet, he sure gets a good laugh out of jokes at the expense of others who aren't even known to be gay; Lemon has also questioned why there are "so many" gay conservatives in the closet even while he didn't come out himself until he was in his 40s.)

"His controversial viewpoints, from the legitimacy of the NYPD's Stop and Frisk program to defending a White reporter's error in mistaking actor Samuel L. Jackson for Laurence Fishburne, have led to numerous Black Twitter followers branding him a sellout," Jet reports.

I'm not sure he's a sellout as much as he's not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. For all his positioning as a serious news guy, Lemon is the CNN anchor you can count on most to deliver the foibles and follies the network is now so infamous for.

Oh yeah, almost forgot:

Retweeted by Don Lemon.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:09 AM | Permalink

GWAR's Dead Frontman Rocked Chicago

"If you never caught a GWAR show in the band's improbable 30-year reign, your failure is now officially complete," Nathan Smith writes for the Houston Press.

"Dave Brockie, the often-hilarious, always-obscene front-thing better known to fans as Oderus Urungus, returned to the stars from whence he came early Sunday morning. He was 50."

GWAR had a summer home of sorts at Chicago's Riot Fest. We'll turn it over to the always essential Riot Fest Twitter feed and end with a couple of video gems.

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GWAR At Riot Fest 2013 (In Three Parts)

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Covering Billy Ocean

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Yes! Yes! Yes! Too Much Cool Stuff To Keep Track Of.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:38 AM | Permalink

Giddy In Glendale

The relationship between athletes and their fans has always been more or less a double-edged sword for the men and women who play the games.

Seattle's 12th Man propelled the Seahawks to the NFL championship. It's become de rigueur when players in winning locker rooms and clubhouses thank "the greatest fans in the world." Fantasy camps let fans hobnob and play catch with current and former stars. Offseason conventions like SoxFest enable fans to mix with the likes of Ron Kittle, Tony LaRussa, Gordon Beckham and Paul Konerko.

On the other hand, boos will echo throughout the Cell when Adam Dunn strikes out yet again with guys on base. Ryan Braun will be rudely treated this summer in ball arks across America. And whatever you do, don't invite Moises Alou to the same dinner party with Steve Bartman.

All of which brings us to the annual rite of spring training, a time when players are far more accessible than during the regular season when the games count. The mood is relaxed and laid back. More likely than not, any fan asking for an autograph can find a cooperating athlete. Want a baseball? Just ask.

At Camelback Ranch - "a state-of-the-art baseball facility like no other" that the Sox share with the Dodgers in Glendale - the ballplayers show up in the morning for drills on the myriad of fields laid out over 141 acres. Around 11:30 a.m., they walk back to the clubhouse for lunch. Separated from fans by only a chest-high fence, opportunities for conversation and autographs abound.

Molina (2).jpg

After lunch, the Sox file into the 13,000-seat stadium - the Sox rarely fill it unless they're playing the Dodgers - from the right field corner on their way to their dugout on the first base side. No ushers tell fans they can't crowd the railings so cries of "Hey, Paulie, over here" or "Alexei, how about an autograph?" usually result in guys like Konerko and Ramirez complying. Even Robin Ventura stops long enough to converse with folks who truly love the White Sox.

Our friend Diane, an exuberant 20-something, had no problem getting Avisail Garcia's attention last week before Tuesday's game with the Angels.

Avisail Signs.jpg

Curious about his eating habits, she asked the promising Venezuelan right-fielder what he had for lunch.

"I didn't eat lunch," Garcia said, which, judging from his 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, was good news for the rest of the team as there might have been a shortage of sandwiches.

"How about breakfast?" Diane asked.

"Scrambled eggs and bacon," Avisail disclosed.

All this without so much as a translator. Yes, Sox fans, Avisail is learning the language.

Meanwhile, pitchers are learning that Garcia hits to all fields, makes contact more often than not (he's struck out just 13 times this spring in 57 plate appearances), has awesome power, and he can run. Bo Jackson visited Camelback last week and proclaimed that Garcia has talent that "oozes from his pores." Bo knows.

Chances are Garcia will bat third with first baseman Jose Abreu in the cleanup role. Forget 2013. This is exciting stuff. Last Wednesday - a 14-10 loss to the Angels - Abreu sent a line drive over the left centerfield fence off Tyler Skaggs, who will be in the Angels' rotation this season. Like Garcia, Abreu uses the entire field, and he's whiffed just seven times this spring.

Another observation about Abreu is that in last Tuesday's 9-0 win over the Brewers, he was still in the dugout in the ninth inning long after the regulars had been pulled from the game and exited the premises. While Paulie and the guys might have been enjoying a post-game beverage, there was Abreu on the top step of the dugout intently watching every pitch.

There's more that makes the pulse pound. The Sox have a legitimate leadoff man in Adam Eaton, who came over from the Diamondbacks in the Addison Reed deal. He's hitting over .300 this spring with an on-base mark above .400. He'll steal some bases and will be more than adequate defensively. This kid, a product of Miami (Ohio) University, is visibly ecstatic about having an opportunity to play regularly for the Sox.

Matt Davidson, also a product of the Reed trade, was optioned to Charlotte on Monday, but he's just 23, has notable power, and will play third base for some big-league club in the future. Furthermore, he pushed incumbent Conor Gillaspie, who has had a splendid spring. He'll get his shot. If Gillaspie falters, Davidson is just waiting for his chance.

Lest we become foolishly enthusiastic about this bunch, consider the post-A.J. Pierzynski dilemma of having a catcher who barely hits .200 and the DH combo of Konerko and Dunn. While giving Paulie one more contract is a lovely gesture, he needs to produce for the team to be successful. It's been a season-and-a-half since Konerko was one of the league's better hitters, and why should he turn it around now in the twilight of his career?

The prospect of having both Konerko and Dunn in the lineup on the same day is no longer necessary or desirable.

We had the unfortunate experience last week of watching Jose Quintana - who signed on Monday for the next five years on the South Side - face nine Athletics in the first inning and failing to retire any of them. Two walks and seven hits were enough to compel Ventura to rescue his No. 2 starter. I was prepared to hear Don Cooper proclaim that Quintana "will be fine," but Jose himself allayed some of the trepidation by pitching five innings Sunday against the Rockies, giving up just one hit - he then picked the guy off first - and walking no one. Seeing as the Sox visit Colorado in the season's first week, this is very good news.

Aside from Chris Sale, the rest of the rotation creates apprehension since no team does well without effective starters. Can John Danks regain his pre-surgery form? Does Erik Johnson have the talent to be a big-league starting pitcher? Who is Felipe Paulino?

This being spring training, none of those questions truly matters. A guy like Jordan Danks can blast five homers and still will begin the season at Triple-A. Johnson may have an ERA over seven, but he'll still get the ball when the season begins. Conversely, Dominican reliever Maikel Cleto can be nearly unhittable in Arizona and still not be assured of making the big club.

What is real is the interaction with the folks in the stands. Six weeks of warm, cordial public relations puts everyone in a festive mood as time shortens between frigid weather and games that count. We can only hope that reality turns out to be as wonderful as spring in the desert.

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Roger Wallenstein is our man on the Sox. He welcomes your comments.

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1. From Bob Vanderberg:

I keep worrying that Eaton is merely a present-day version of John Cangelosi . . .

In 1970, the last time the Sox were this bad, the only dependable starting pitchers were Tommy John and Joe Horlen (and then Horlen hurt his knee!) . . . the "battle cry" that one of the beat writers came up with - with apologies to Johnny Sain and Warren Spahn, 1948 NL champ Boston Braves ("Spahn and Sain, and pray for rain") - was this:

Tommy and Joe
and pray for snow.

For 2014, I submit:

Quintana and Sale
and pray for hail.

But it's not all discouraging. The Sox must be pretty good if they can ship their best third baseman to Triple A . . .

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

March 24, 2014

The [Monday] Papers

Campaigns are almost always referendums on incumbents, but in the case of Rauner vs. Quinn, it's a referendum on Rauner. I explain in Beachwood Podcast No. 6, after our discussion of the latest episode of Chicagoland.

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Planning and production of a new, separate podcast, The Beachwood Radio Hour, is underway. This show will be a Beachwood week-in-review more tightly focused on Chicago and Beachwood content, while the current podcast while roam more broadly including overseas. If you're interested in helping the new show, drop me a line.

Koschman Case
"Nanci Koschman used to lie awake at night, unable to sleep, because the police blamed her only child, David Koschman, for his own death," the Sun-Times reports.

"Now, she can't sleep because she's angry since learning the police lied to her. So angry that she has decided to file a federal lawsuit accusing the Chicago Police Department of violating her son's civil rights."

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Of course, it's not just the police who lied. R.J. Vanecko's friends are accomplices to Nanci Koschman's pain. Says Nanci:

Q: Do you think there are more answers you need to get?

A: I'd like to see some of the people face-to-face . . . I'd like to see these people and say, "Really? You know you all got together after he punched David, and none of you talked about it? You got in a cab? You went back to the bar? . . . Nobody mentioned a word of it? Come on. Look me in the eye, and tell me that." The same with the police. "You took the file home?" . . . The state's attorney who threw the file away. Isn't that a legal document? . . . It's been very enlightening.

And:

Q: What about Vanecko friends Bridget McCarthy and her husband Kevin, who lied to the police about Vanecko's involvement?

A: The fact that they continued to lie, that he told his wife not to talk to people. You shouldn't be able to lie to the police and say, "I'm not telling you," or, "I don't remember" . . . That's very frustrating. Again, those are the kind of the people I'd like to see in their face and go, "Really? Really, you didn't want to tell them it was R.J.? You didn't think they were going to figure it out?"

They protected their friend. In their world, that's more important than protecting the truth - no matter who gets hurt. That's the Chicago Way.

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Exclusive 101
How in the world are interviews with the governor and the mayor "exclusives?"

Grow up.

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Also: Why even bother if your interviews are so lame you could just have the governor (or mayor) just type up his own quotes? Would save time.

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Better questions for Pat Quinn:

1. Why won't you commit to a position on the "temporary" income tax?

2. Did you really believe it would be temporary when you signed it?

3. How do you justify cutting millions from social services while giving away subsidies to immensely profitable corporations?

4. Do you believe every company doing business in Illinois should pay taxes? Then why aren't they?

5. Do you think Rahm Emanuel did the right thing closing 50 schools in Chicago?

6. Do you support shutting down public schools while opening charter schools?

7. Should Mike Madigan be prosecuted for election fraud for putting his own opponents on the ballot?

8. How can you support Joe Berrios when you talk so much about integrity in government?

9. You once advocated for term limits. What changed your mind?

10. Why are you so unpopular?

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One rule of good interviewing is to not ask questions that you can get the answers to elsewhere (Where were you born?) and to not ask questions that will merely elicit talking points that you have heard or will hear a thousand times before and after (What do you say about your opponents' claim that . . . ?).

Go into an interview with a plan. Ask the questions you really want the answer to - and that haven't been asked before. Don't try to cover too much ground; never enough time.

And if you don't get invited back, so be it. If an elected official only grants interviews to chumps, don't be a chump. And if no one is a chump, an elected official will either have to give no interviews or take his or her chances. As it should be.

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Corollary: When an elected official looking for a free ride grants you an "exclusive," you're a chump.

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See also: Asking Axelrod.

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SportsMonday: Money Train
"Other than that fact that it is all fundamentally corrupt, the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament continues to be a remarkable sporting spectacle," our very own Jim Coffman writes.

Burger King Kanye
Plus: Wicked Witches Of Food & Protruding Potbelly's. In our Random Food Report.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Wild Child, Kingo Buzzo, Born Cages, and Guerilla Toss.

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BeachBook
* Coming Soon To A Divvy Program Near You.

* Benefit For SXSW Victims With Chicago Ties.

* Man's Death Is 29th Cold-Related In Cook County.

* Sears And The Art Of Disclosure.

* School "Reformers" Love Choice Except When . . .

* Wealthy Man Who Gamed System Attacks Poor For Gaming System.

* $80 Million For Six Weeks' Work.

* WXRT Does It Again.

* Exclusive: Pentagon Withholds Internal Report About Flawed $2.7 Billion Intel Program.

* Illinois Lawmakers Investigate Drop In Deer Numbers.

* U.S. Vet Nearly Killed By Police Bean Bag At Occupy Oakland Settles.

* MLB Insiders Rate At Least 14 General Managers Better Than Theo Epstein, Er, I Mean Jed Hoyer.

* People's Gas Charges 75% More Than Nicor As Chicago Heating Bills Soar.

* Rahm Should Turn Over Police Files.

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TweetWood

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The analogy section was never Bebley's strong suit.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: No shoes, no shirt, no problem.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:59 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Money Train

Even if it wasn't March, it would probably be time to take a break from pro sports in this town this week. We will have all summer to bash the profits uber alles Cubs after all. The Bulls are in the midst of a sluggish stretch that most recently saw them barely eke out a couple wins over the awful Sixers sandwiched around a tough loss to the Pacers. The Patrick Kane-less Hawks had no answers for the going-nowhere Nashville Predators last night, losing 2-0.

And the portion of weekend morning sports radio I happened to hear featured a conversation about the Bears' back-up quarterback situation. I was proud of myself in that it only took a couple minutes before it occurred to me that maybe it was time to take a break from Bears talk for a little while (then again, only 45 days 'til the draft!).

Clearly it was a series of signs. I almost always focus on pro sports in our major leagues-obsessed town but today even I will have to take a look at the Tournament and note that the first three-and-a-half days (before a series of boring blowouts late Sunday) were about as good as it gets in terms of basic sports drama.

Other than that fact that it is all fundamentally corrupt, the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament continues to be a remarkable sporting spectacle.

Gosh, if we could just continue to forget about the fact that everyone is getting rich in this multi-billion dollar enterprise except so many of the stars of the show, and that those stars are so frequently beset by parasites all the way through. That, yes, they get scholarships but so many of the "schools" set it up so the star athletes do the absolute minimum academically and thereby do not even begin to reap anything close to proportional benefits.

That, of course, is especially true when one compares the players' compensation to the stratospheric salaries given to coaches elevated to cult-leader status for all the wrong reasons.

"It didn't used to be this way," cries the world-weary, grizzled sportswriter who then embarks upon legitimate, if awfully convenient, reminiscences. That would be me of course, and way back when I spent a couple collegiate spring breaks at my grandparents' house in suburban Washington D.C. that ended with epic long weekends of college hoops (epic only to a 20-year-old sports obsessive but still).

That was back when ESPN was still a relatively novel concept and the first two rounds of the tournament were its time to shine. In the springs of 1986 and 1987, on the Thursdays and Fridays of both my breaks (talk about awesome coincidences!), I settled in for 48 hours of first-round madness on the television.

ESPN would play live games from noon until midnight and then show tape-delayed broadcasts of the games that didn't fit from midnight back around to noon. My grandparents must have thought I was certifiable but I was living it up. Did I mention that was a long, long time ago?

Since then my team, DePaul, has gone so far down the drain they are adrift out in the midst of good ol' Lake Michigan. And to stick with the metaphor, the money has poured into the NCAA like it is rushing over the biggest waterfall in the world. If I had to point to one thing that began to turn me away from this event, it was when CBS paid about a billion dollars for seven years of television rights to the Dance a few years after the turn of the century.

Then in 2010, CBS and Turner Broadcasting signed up for another 14 years for slightly more dollars.

This year I did head out to taverns for lunch and college basketball last Thursday and Friday. And I was rewarded with the opportunity to watch Dayton knock off Ohio State the first day and, even better, Mercer beat Duke the second. Dayton did the job on Saturday as well, knocking off Syracuse and making the Sweet 16. But that was it for Cinderella. San Diego State made it through, but they have been a basketball power the last few years and were seeded fourth in their regional.

The only other teams that remain that aren't members of power conferences (Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, SEC, ACC) are Louisville and UConn. And they are obviously power programs. One might think tournament overlords would be disappointed there aren't more underdogs but then they might think about it a bit. Power conferences earn that moniker because because their teams bring in big revenues.

In other words, the NCAA money train just keeps on rolling.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:27 AM | Permalink

Random Food Report: Burger King Kanye

"A photo of the 'Wicked Witch of the West' appeared on the screen," Jeff Gelski reports for Food Business News.

"'That would be you,' David Freeman said in a Westin Chicago River North hotel ballroom full of food scientists and food product developers.

"The food industry may follow a product development path to rid itself of this villain image, Mr. Freeman said March 20 at the Institute of Food Technologists' Wellness 14. An article he wrote appeared last summer in The Atlantic and argued that solving the obesity issue will require food industry professionals to develop healthier products."

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The opening of that Atlantic article, titled "How Junk Food Can End Obesity:"

Late last year, in a small health-food eatery called Cafe Sprouts in Oberlin, Ohio, I had what may well have been the most wholesome beverage of my life. The friendly server patiently guided me to an apple-blueberry-kale-carrot smoothie-juice combination, which she spent the next several minutes preparing, mostly by shepherding farm-fresh produce into machinery. The result was tasty, but at 300 calories (by my rough calculation) in a 16-ounce cup, it was more than my diet could regularly absorb without consequences, nor was I about to make a habit of $9 shakes, healthy or not.

Inspired by the experience nonetheless, I tried again two months later at L.A.'s Real Food Daily, a popular vegan restaurant near Hollywood. I was initially wary of a low-calorie juice made almost entirely from green vegetables, but the server assured me it was a popular treat. I like to brag that I can eat anything, and I scarf down all sorts of raw vegetables like candy, but I could stomach only about a third of this oddly foamy, bitter concoction. It smelled like lawn clippings and tasted like liquid celery. It goes for $7.95, and I waited 10 minutes for it.

I finally hit the sweet spot just a few weeks later, in Chicago, with a delicious blueberry-pomegranate smoothie that rang in at a relatively modest 220 calories. It cost $3 and took only seconds to make. Best of all, I'll be able to get this concoction just about anywhere. Thanks, McDonald's!

More about David H. Freedman.

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Burger King Kanye
"Forget diamonds. Nothing says 'romance' like Burger King. That's why Kanye West has purchased Kim Kardashian ten of them as a wedding gift, proving that his love for the reality star is no Whopper," Mark Gelber writes for AOL.

"According to MSN Entertainment, West hopes that the ten franchises, which are located around Europe, will give Kardashian a point of entry into the controversial fast food industry, and demonstrate that the sometimes aloof-seeming rapper is perfectly capable of loving her tender (crisp)."

Here's the part we forgot:

"[West's] KW Foods company operates several Fatburger restaurants in Chicago."

And here's why we probably forgot about it:

"In 2007, rapper Kanye West's restaurant company. KW Foods LLC, struck a deal to open up to 10 Fatburger restaurants in Chicago. Ultimately, in 2009, only two locations actually opened. In February 2011, West shut down the Fatburger located in Orland Park. Later in 2011 the remaining Beverly location also was shuttered."

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Protruding Potbelly
"Chicago-based Potbelly Sandwich Shop has revealed a multiunit franchise growth plan for Oklahoma City, identifying a market where it hopes to accelerate expansion for its emerging franchise system," Nation's Restaurant News reports.

"Company officials said in a statement that it has targeted Oklahoma City as the next franchise market because of the area's growing residential and business communities."

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"Potbelly is calling for multiunit operators for Oklahoma City and eventually other Oklahoma cities like Tulsa, Norman and Stillwater. Outside the state, the company said it would target franchise growth in nearby Arkansas, Nebraska and Iowa."

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Chicago Meatpackers
Hamburg.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:49 AM | Permalink

Cracking The Chicagoland Code 3: Our Fact-Challenged Heroes

The producers have lost any semblance of a plot they may have had, and in the process delivered diminishing returns - even for those of us who think the program sucks. We stlll found a lot to talk about though, from the outrageous lack of fact-checking to more Rahm hagiography.


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Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 2: Fixing The Facts.

* Tweeting Chicagoland Episode 3: Get Me Write.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:31 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Wild Child at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.


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2. King Buzzo at Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.

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3. Born Cages at Beat Kitchen on Thursday night.

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4. Guerilla Toss at the Burlington on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:59 AM | Permalink

March 22, 2014

The Weekend Desk Report

You wouldn't dare penalize the Weekend Desk for taking a couple of days off. After all, it's vital to maintain a friendly relationship with your weekend service provider.

Market Update
Here's a solid bet: you aren't going to get a billion dollars anytime soon. Unless you already have a billion dollars.

Suspended Karma
Sure, it's more likely that non-white students will be suspended or expelled from school, even as early as preschool. But in fairness, their largely non-white teachers are significantly more likely to be expelled as well.

Zero Stars
Huh, we would've given this fake divergence bullshit full of bland white people way less than two stars.

Finally This Week . . .
Bring It. No one cares who won the bronze.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Gold.

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Beachwood Podcast No. 6
Tuffy and the Angry Aussie take on the third episode of Chicagoland, Bruce Rauner and major league baseball in Australia.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "SXSW is the time of year where 70,000 people come to Austin, Texas, to discover the best in tech, film & music. Jim and Greg have braved the long lines, spilled beer & 6th Street to bring you the best music from SXSW 2014. Then they review the new album from blue-eyed soul singer, Nick Waterhouse."

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The Flying Saucer Weekend Brunch Report: Fully loaded.

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Perspectivas Latinas: Metropolitan Breast Cancer Task Force

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Katherine Tossas Milligan of the Metropolitan Breast Cancer Task Force explains breast cancer inequalities in metropolitan Chicago and highlights services providing free mammograms and pap tests to uninsured women.

Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21; En Espanol Sunday at 2 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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A Conversation With Pedro Noguera

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WBEZ reporter Linda Lutton interviews NYU sociologist Pedro Noguera about lessons learned from decades of education reform attempts in the United States, and what approaches hold promise for the future. Hosted by the UIC Great Cities Institute.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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2014 Studs Terkel Awards

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The Community Media Workshop honors journalists for elevating local community voices, and celebrates the organization's exiting executive director and founder Thom Clark. Honorees include Steve Bogira of the Reader, Alejandro Escalona of Telemundo, and Steve James & Gordon Quinn of Kartemquin Films.

Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Women Leading The Future

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Local women leaders in the fields of finance, food, art and social issues explore how women can empower communities around the world to overcome hunger and poverty. Hosted by Chicago Oxfam Action Corps in honor of International Women's Day.

Sunday at 12 p.m. on CAN TV21.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:13 AM | Permalink

March 21, 2014

The [Friday] Papers

"Parents at a Chicago elementary school are irate after their children were questioned at school Thursday by CPS officials investigating their teachers," Linda Lutton reports for WBEZ.

"The district is looking into potential 'teacher misconduct' around recent boycotts of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test."

And hopefully an inspector general is looking into potential "administrative misconduct" over these interviews.

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"Parents at Drummond Montessori in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood say they found out through parent e-mails, texts and Facebook messages that Chicago Public Schools Law Department officials were 'interrogating' their children at school. Parents say they had no knowledge the interviews were going to take place, and did not give any prior consent.

"CPS spokesman [and former Tribune reporter] Joel Hood acknowledged that investigators from the district's law department questioned students 'about how their teachers had conducted themselves during ISAT testing.'"

Again, the real question is how CPS conducted themselves during ISAT testing. Their coercive measures towards students whose parents had opted them out was bad enough, but now CPS has turned itself into a police state.

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"The chair of Drummond's local school council, Jonathan Goldman, said he was at the school in the morning and spoke with one of the two investigators he saw there. He said the investigator told him that 'CPS had authority to do this, acting under the doctrine of in loco parentis, which means that the Board can stand in for the parents,' said Goldman. 'Their moral grounds for doing this is certainly very questionable.'"

Certainly. The doctrine of in loco parentis usually applies when parents can't be found and time is of the essence, or more popularly, on college campuses where parents no longer have live-in authority over their kids. In the case of Drummond, parents were just a phone call away - or even just yards away dropping off kids!

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Neither CPS lawyer Raymond Poloko, who was at the school Thursday, nor interim principal Colette Unger-Teasley would comment, according to DNAinfo Chicago.

Under the in loco parentis doctrine, students were allowed to comment for them since Poloko and Unger-Teasley were acting like children.

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CPS administrators blame outsourced legal staff for interpreting the doctrine as "crazy stand-ins for parents."

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Meanwhile, sources close to my imagination say CPS is planning to fire a dozen more art teachers to pay for the coming legal settlement.

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Subterranean Homesick Blues
"A parking meter vandalism spree has erupted on the city's North Side," the Expired Meter reports.

"CPD reported Monday at least 13 pay boxes were damaged using a heavy blunt object or tool in the Lakeview, Wicker Park, West Town and Andersonville neighborhoods. The damage has been severe enough to disable the unit from working properly."

Police are asking for the public's help in apprehending the vandal, but let's face it: No jury in Chicago would convict.

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Chicagoland 3
It's just getting boring now.

Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty
It's a lie.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Childish Gambino & Chance the Rapper, Unwed Sailor, and Lorde.

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BeachBook
* Remembering Odge: Hot Dog Stand Owner Was Beloved West Town Gem.

* The Coming Divvy Disaster.

* Elmhurst Native Jumps Into Shark Tank Tonight.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Unmetered.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:32 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Childish Gambino & Chance the Rapper at The Vic on Wednesday night.



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2. Unwed Sailor at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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3. Lorde at the Aragon on Tuesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:04 AM | Permalink

Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 3: Get Me Rewrite

And . . . Chicagoland has lost whatever semblance of plot it had - besides depicting Rahm "25 Percent Of The Students In This City Are Never Going To Be Anything" Emanuel as the most caring man in the city by far.

Gee, ya think?

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We'll have a more detailed discussion of this episode on this week's Beachwood Podcast, which goes up on the site Saturday evening.

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Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 2: Fixing The Facts.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:26 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty

It's a lie.

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:00 AM | Permalink

March 20, 2014

The [Thursday] Papers

My series of notebooks on this week's primary will continue on Friday. In the meantime, the Political Odds have been updated to reflect recent developments.

Tax Sham
"The Regional Transportation Authority has gone back to court in its still-expanding war against alleged sales-tax havens that operate on the periphery of the agency's area," Greg Hinz reports for Crain's.

"In an action filed late yesterday in Cook County Circuit Court, the RTA names far-suburban Genoa, Savanna and Morris and three fuel-oil companies that it says have agreed to work together to avoid paying the agency's regional sales taxes by locating 'sham sales offices' in the towns and the rebating a portion of what is paid back to the companies."

I'd like to know what Bruce Rauner thinks about this - and about the plethora of tax-dodging strategies. Sound business or deplorable behavior in need of hammerin' and shakin'?

Council War
"A former Chicago Board of Education member is running for what many would consider a far less prestigious position: local school council member at two different Chicago public schools," Linda Lutton reports for WBEZ.

"Rodrigo Sierra was handpicked by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011 to serve on the city's school board. He stayed until the end of 2012, when Emanuel asked him to become a commissioner for the Chicago Housing Authority.

"Now, Sierra is running for LSC as a parent representative at InterAmerican Magnet school and as a community representative at Blaine Elementary near his home."

Huh. That's weird.

"Blaine and its outspoken principal and LSC were among the loudest in the city to protest budget cuts last summer.

"In an unusual move, Blaine's council voted to reject its budget to send a message to CPS. One of Blaine's current LSC community representatives, Kate Schott Bolduc, helped form a coalition of more than 80 LSCs citywide to protest budget cuts and advocate for more funding."

Oh.

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Now, I know what you're thinking. But Lutton reports:

"Sierra says it would be 'a big surprise' to him if the mayor or anyone on the school board knew he was running."

It would be a big surprise to me if Rahm didn't know - and a bigger surprise to me if Rahm didn't dream up a strategy of packing local school councils himself.

After all, Sierra is "a brand repositioning, media and public affairs expert," which is very Rahmish.

Sierra is also a former deputy press secretary for Richard M. Daley who "established procedures and standards for the Mayor's press office initiatives and duties to achieve results and meet all goals for deliverables."

So he developed unique ways to say "No comment."

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Sierra is also a former board of education member who is now on the CHA board. But why bother telling your boss you're in the running for a new side gig?

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Meanwhile . . .

"Also running for a seat on Blaine's LSC is an employee of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, communications manager Jodie Cantrell."

Who's next in the race, Becky Carroll?

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"Cantrell did not disclose on her candidate statement that she works for a charter school advocacy organization, but she says she plans to do that tonight at Blaine's local school council candidate forum."

The last thing a communications manager would want to do is put something in writing; that's something she learned in her job at Reputation Partners.

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From Cantrell's Twitter feed:

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Kevin Trudeau's Jailhouse Jig
More Oprah than Mandela.

Busting Warren Buffett's Billion-Dollar Bracket
Heads he wins, tails you lose.

U of I Robot Ad Violated Policies
Totally lacked full disclosure.

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BeachBook
* UNO Teachers Ratify First Union Contract.

* More Reasons Why Kristin Cavallari Won't Vaccinate Her Children. Will playdates become scarce?

* Chicago Taxi Driver Charges $800 For Two-Mile Ride.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Get jiggy with it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:32 AM | Permalink

University Of Illinois Robot Ad Violated Policies

An internal review by the University of Illinois has found that an advertisement in which a university surgical team endorsed a pricey surgical robot violated school policies.

Though the team acted "in good faith," the review concluded, the episode pointed to the need for clearer rules and stronger enforcement.

The review by the university system's vice president of research followed criticism of the ad for the da Vinci surgical robot that ran in the New York Times Magazine in January. It featured a dozen members of the surgery team at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System above the headline "We believe in da Vinci surgery because our patients benefit."

While surgical leaders at the Chicago hospital viewed their appearance in the ad as "free publicity" for their program, the review said, some outsiders saw it as promoting a commercial product.

Paul Levy, the former chief executive of the prestigious Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, wrote a series of blog posts saying their actions violated hospital policies.

ProPublica wrote about the controversy last month.

The ad was intended to run in 11 magazines, the review said, but the university asked Intuitive Surgical, the robot's maker, to suspend it after Levy's posts began appearing. The company agreed.

The review found that staff members were not paid for appearing in the ad and that "there were no fraudulent attempts to hide any associations between faculty and Intuitive Surgical."

But the review also found that policies were broken.

"Based on discussions with individuals involved in the advertisement, neither the Office for University Relations, which works with the campuses to ensure consistent application of the University's image and messages, nor the Ethics Office, was consulted regarding the participation of UIC employees in the advertisement," said the report, which is dated March 15 but was released publicly Tuesday "Additionally, approval was not solicited from the Chief Operating Officer of the Medical Center as required by internal policy."

The review found that the policies governing conflicts of interest were "complicated and inconsistent."

"There is a lack of ownership and accountability for conflict disclosure and management," in which different parts of the system have their own rules and do not coordinate, the review said. It called for clearer standards and more coordination between different divisions of the university.

Two doctors in the ad disclosed to the university in January, after the ad ran, that they had received "$5,000 or more aggregate income from and/or have greater than $5,000 investment or equity" in Intuitive. A third doctor reported a relationship with Intuitive but said it was valued at "none or less than $5,000." All three had previously said they had no relationship with the company in 2013-14.

The review found that their disclosure forms were not signed by the head of the surgery department or other superiors, as required. (The head of surgery also appeared in the ad.)

Questions have been raised about the value of the da Vinci system.

A study found that deaths and injuries linked to surgery with the robots are going underreported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

And the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in a statement last year: "There is no good data proving that robotic hysterectomy is even as good as - let alone better - than existing, and far less costly, minimally invasive alternatives."

The University of Illinois has spent $4.6 million buying products from Intuitive over the past two-and-a-half years, the review found. That includes $2.2 million for one of its surgical systems.

Intuitive declined comment on the report, but has said previously that its advertising campaign "is intended to educate both the medical and patient communities by using factual information from independent, peer-reviewed studies that prove the safety of our system."

University spokesman Thomas Hardy told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday that employees had not been disciplined for their roles in the ad but that everyone involved is "embarrassed."

"If we had a do-over, we would do it right, or not at all," Hardy told the newspaper. "We needed a more fulsome discussion as to what we were going to do, and what policies would affect that and whether it was something worth doing."

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Previously: University Of Illinois Hospital Caught Shilling For Surgery Robots.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:28 AM | Permalink

Busting Warren Buffett's Billion-Dollar Bracket

"It's March Madness and basketball fans are going mad over Quicken Loans' billion-dollar bracket challenge. The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, has promised $1 billion for the perfect bracket. Buffett is one of the most successful investors in the world. What could he be getting out of this? The answer: Your data."


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And the risk to him? None. He's insured himself.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:34 AM | Permalink

Kevin Trudeau's Jailhouse Jig

"Meanwhile, in a rambling post on his Facebook page, a message attributed to Trudeau updates his followers on his new life, and speaks of his affection for the judge who gave him such a stiff sentence," Phil Rogers reports for NBC Chicago.

"Had a great nights sleep after the sentencing!" he wrote. "Mandela got 28 years, I was blessed to get only 10."

"I have deep love and appreciation for the Judge and the prosecutors," the post continues. "Please send them love."

They don't want love, they want the truth!

But Trudeau's Facebook posts portend either a man who has already embarked on a new scheme - he includes a fundraising appeal (checks payable to Winston & Strawn) - or who is merely extending his old one; either way, he's far more Oprah than Mandela.

To wit:

Had a great nights sleep after the sentencing! Mandela got 28 years, I was blessed to get only 10. I have deep love and appreciation for the Judge and the prosecutors. Please send them love. A 10 year sentence means I will be out between 6-8 years depending on certain things. I will appeal the sentence and the verdict. I might get the verdict overturned and/or the sentenced reduced. The Universe knows what is best and perfect. You must to trust Devine Timing. I will use my time in prison, however long that turns out to be, to my advantage. There are reasons for everything. I KNOW my personal desires ARE being manifested. The HOW, and WHEN do not concern me, as the Devine knows and delivers Perfection in everything. Learn to trust. When I heard the sentence, I knew there were amazing things off the radar screen I did not see yet. I felt so excited for my upcoming adventure and all the blessings that are in store for me! Time issues cause much negative emotions with people. You want something, but don't have it NOW, and you feel bad. Space also causes negative emotions issues. You are here, and want to be there, and you feel bad. In the energy dimension, there is no time and space. If you see everything as energy, WHEN something happens or manifests in THIS time/space reality does not matter anymore, as you begin to understand that everything reveals itself at the absolute perfect time. This temporary time away is my personal exciting adventure for growth, learning, and where I am releasing abilities that I will be able to teach to you all! There are people I must meet, and who must meet me. There are experiences and emotions I must confront. There are walls of fire I must walk through. There are breakthroughs I must make. All is being given to me in perfect divine order for the highest good of everyone. Thank you again for all your love and support. Everything is Perfect! Much love.

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Before the sentencing, Trudeau wrote:

The government will tell the Judge how horrible a person I am. They will call me a liar, a con man, a fraudster, motivated by greed, and say every bad thing that they can say about me.

At the sentencing:

I have truly had a significant reawakening. If I ever do an infomercial again . . . I promise: no embellishments, no puffery, no lies.

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Also before sentencing:

My sentencing date is Monday, March 17th. How long will I have to be in prison? 6 months? 6 years? 20 years? No one knows. But we all will find out soon! I know I will get out as soon as is perfect. The universe knows what is best for my highest good. (28 years was for Mandala and the country of So Africa's highest good!) Whatever it is it is. A piece of coal needs a certain amount of time and pressure before it transforms into a diamond. I need a certain amount of time and "pressure" for me to reach my spiritual goals and desires and for me to release all the abilities I want to release. The universe knows the answer. I am thankful for this experience and the growth I am achieving. I could have never achieved spiritually what I have if it were not for this experience, environment, and all that has happened. And I am doing things I always wanted to do...like let my hair grow! I have not cut my hair since I have been here! I look almost like a cross between a crazy professor and a hippie! And my grey hairs are pouring in! I also am not wearing contact lenses and letting my eyes rest after all those years of contact lenses use. My super thick "coke bottle" glasses make my eyes so small looking! I feel like Mr .Magoo!! I look so funny! We all have a great laugh with my crazy greying long hair and Mr Magoo glasses! Everyday is a great day for me as I am one day closer to being free, and I to continue my "lessons" and training exercises!. Be happy everyday...life is way too short! Much Love...KT

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From December, explaining why he did not testify on his behalf:

People ask me why I did not take the stand and talk on my on defense at the trial. I had planned to do just that. I communicate well. I was sure if I took the stand and told the truth, that the jury would see that I was innocent. They would see that I did not violate the order. They would see that I did not misrepresent the contents of the book, and for sure they would see I had no criminal intent and did not do anything willfully in violation of the order.

But on the night before I was to testify I had a supernatural spiritual experience like I had never had in my life. I won't explain now in detail what happened, I will do that later to those who attend future seminars.

For a hefty fee, no doubt.

All I can say was I knew I could not take the stand. I had to remain silent. I could not speak in my own defense. And I knew if I did not take the stand and defend myself I was going to be found guilty! I knew that my path was to be found guilty! Think about all the people that stood silent and did not speak in their own defense...Jesus, Mandela, Gandhi, Chavez, the list goes on and on about people who stood silent when accused and did not speak in their own defense. My current incarceration is the perfect path for me! More on this amazing miracle later...all I can tell you is what happened to me was beyond anything I have experienced in my life. It was spiritual. It was supernatural. It was a miracle. And it has given me a peace I have not had before!

It's like he wanted to get caught!

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See also: Kevin Trudeau Could've Been President.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:33 AM | Permalink

March 19, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

From Primary 2014 Notebook 2: Reporting Rauner:

"First-time candidate Bruce Rauner eked out a surprisingly narrow victory over state Sen. Kirk Dillard for the Republican governor nomination in Tuesday's primary as Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn launched an early TV attack ad against his wealthy challenger," the Tribune reports.

Surprising only to those who believed the polls. For example, the Beachwood Bookmaking Bureau never wavered from placing Dillard atop the leader board - though we certainly should have downgraded the sliding Bill Brady had we updated the board since its last, Feb. 28 posting.

In fact, one has to wonder how much the polls showing Rauner with a 20-point lead affected the race. Were potential Dillard voters discouraged? Were wavering voters persuaded to "go with the winner?" What about the impact of the cynical punditry that kept insisting the election was a lock? And what about the overall media performance that delivered Rauner gobs of attention - not all of it positive, to be sure - while the other campaigns were left begging?

As I've said before, Rauner's money didn't just buy saturating advertising, but saturating reporting. And yet, we're left with a candidate who was allowed to dodge just about every issue and outright dodge reporters - even on Election Night.

When the pundits do their analyses of what happened and why, I'm sure they'll leave themselves out of the equation. But we all know media coverage impacts campaigns. If it doesn't, why bother?

Click through for the rest.

Note: Primary analysis will continue through the week.

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Here's The Emotions!
Beautiful colors shining through.

Smoking Stinks
Also, bark if you like meat.

Cubs Still A Very Bad Bet
Don't be fooled by inflated lines.

Louder Than A Bomb 2014
The city's most eloquent voices.

Housewares Highlights
Gizmos and gadgets.

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BeachBook
* Pro-Vaxxers Troll Jenny McCarthy's Twitter Feed For Five Days And Counting.

* Lorde Live-Tweeting A Bulls Game Is Pretty Weird.

* Undocumented Immigrant Who Hid In Chicago Church Re-Enters U.S.

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TweetWood
It was a busy night, so I won't produce any highlights here - just check out the feed for yourself.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Run your mouth.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:06 AM | Permalink

Primary 2014 Notebook 2

"First-time candidate Bruce Rauner eked out a surprisingly narrow victory over state Sen. Kirk Dillard for the Republican governor nomination in Tuesday's primary as Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn launched an early TV attack ad against his wealthy challenger," the Tribune reports.

Surprising only to those who believed the polls. For example, the Beachwood Bookmaking Bureau never wavered from placing Dillard atop the leader board - though we certainly should have downgraded the sliding Bill Brady had we updated the board since its last, Feb. 28 posting.

In fact, one has to wonder how much the polls showing Rauner with a 20-point lead affected the race. Were potential Dillard voters discouraged? Were wavering voters persuaded to "go with the winner?" What about the impact of the cynical punditry that kept insisting the election was a lock? And what about the overall media performance that delivered Rauner gobs of attention - not all of it positive, to be sure - while the other campaigns were left begging?

As I've said before, Rauner's money didn't just buy saturating advertising, but saturating reporting. And yet, we're left with a candidate who was allowed to dodge just about every issue and outright dodge reporters - even on Election Night.

When the pundits do their analyses of what happened and why, I'm sure they'll leave themselves out of the equation. But we all know media coverage impacts campaigns. If it doesn't, why bother?

Poll Pablum
"On the Democratic side, Quinn recived a commanding 72 percent with 97 percent of precincts counted. Challenger Tio Hardiman, the former leader of the anti-violence group CeaseFire, had 28 percent," the Trib reports.

That 28 percent is a far cry from the 36 percent that, again, some pundits bought into. (On Chicago Tonight this week, Carol Marin also repeated the 36% claim unquestioningly.)

As I pointed out at the time, the poll was done by a Republican activist whose methodology wasn't revealed. In a low-turnout election, 27% is nothing; Hardiman pulled 227,646 votes, which is considerably less than the 326,331 votes Rahm Emanuel pulled to win the Chicago mayoralty in 2011.

Difference Makers
Dillard lost his home county of DuPage, which is likely what cost him the nomination - possibly in combination with votes that black ministers in Chicago (like James Meeks) delivered to Rauner. Crunch those numbers!

Reporting Rauner
"Making the rounds of morning television news programs after winning the Republican nomination for governor, Bruce Rauner said he anticipates a 'very, very tough' general election," Natasha Korecki reports for the Sun-Times.

Last night was a different story.

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But still, an ongoing problem.

"Rauner has been available to reporters in Springfield woefully few times," veteran statehouse reporters Bernie Schoenburg reports for the State Journal-Register.

"And those encounters did not paint a good picture about how he'll relate to the public.

"The day in August that his press folks made sure reporters knew he was arriving to events on his motorcycle, he refused to say, when asked, if he was for a law that would require riders to wear helmets. He wanted to stick to his agenda for the day. He did tell me in a telephone interview weeks later, on Sept. 3 - when he wanted to talk because he was announcing a petition drive for a term-limit proposal - that he opposes a helmet law.

"That Sept. 3 interview was also when he told me he had not spoken to U.S. Education Secretary ARNE DUNCAN, when Duncan headed Chicago Public Schools, about getting one of Rauner's children into the prestigious Walter Payton College Prep high school in Chicago. He told others later he had talked to Duncan about his daughter. In a live TV debate in Springfield on Feb. 18, Rauner apologized to me, saying he couldn't really remember if he or his wife spoke to Duncan. Then I heard an interview he did on WLS radio in Chicago weeks earlier, describing details of the conversation he had with Duncan.

"'So I called Arne and I said, Hey Arne, she'd really like to go to Walter Payton,' he had said back on Jan. 14. Rauner did always say he asked for no special favors. But he either lied to WLS or on live TV in Springfield, or his mind is going. This signals a serious credibility problem."

See also: When Will "Another Day" And "Later" And Any Other Real Answers Come From Rauner?

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Rauner even refused to appear before the Springfield State Journal-Register for an endorsement interview. He did appear before the Tribune editorial board, of course, which apparently isn't bothered by Rauner's refusal to cooperate with reporters. See, the Tribune editorial board is a political organization, not a journalistic entity. So they endorsed Rauner - and if he stiffs their reporters, so be it.

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Back to the Sun-Times:

"But heading into Tuesday's vote, few seemed to give Dillard much of a chance to close the gap against Rauner."

Let me fix that for you:

"But heading into Tuesday's vote, few in the media seemed to give Dillard much of a chance to close the gap against Rauner."

#Raunerland!
"Rauner has raised about $8 million in individual donations, much of it in six-figure amounts from leaders of investment firms with stakes in an array of businesses," the Tribune reports.

"Yet Rauner says he is confident those donations will have no influence on his decisions as governor."

Unlike the influence he sought when he donated to campaigns.


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"On the stump, Rauner also talks up his modest upbringing, relating a sometimes incomplete biography. He reminisces about growing up in a small Deerfield ranch house, not mentioning that parts of his youth were also spent in upscale Lake Forest as well as Scottsdale, Ariz.

"Rauner also mentions that his father was an electrical engineer at Schaumburg-based Motorola, often not pointing out that the elder Rauner also was a lawyer who ran the patent department at the electronics giant and rose to senior vice president."

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"GTCR Golder Rauner, which Rauner chaired for a quarter century before leaving in 2012, made tremendous profit in the corporate takeover business, squeezing out efficiencies as it bought and sold an eclectic blend of companies, from fried chicken franchises to nursing homes."

Let me fix that for you:

"GTCR Golder Rauner, which Rauner chaired for a quarter century before leaving in 2012, made tremendous profit in the corporate takeover business, squeezing out efficiencies by sending workers to the unemployment line and then complaining about lazy folks in the unemployment line as it bought and sold an eclectic blend of companies, from fried chicken franchises to nursing homes."

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"City records show that Rauner was granted extraordinary personal access to Emanuel and then-schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard when the new administration began putting its stamp on school policy."

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"But while arguing in the governor's race that he can bring major change to Springfield, Rauner has also publicly lamented how little his donations have done to improve education.

"'My wife and I have spent more than $20 million trying to donate to teacher training, principal development, charter schools,' he told an education conference in 2012. 'And I would say probably 80 percent of the dollars that we donated have been wasted. Lost. No result.'"

So his record is worse than CPS's.

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TweetWood

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Previously:
* Primary 2014 Notebook 1: Russell Brand vs. The Chicago Mediocracy.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Noelle Jezek:

Is it any wonder Rauner is 'friends' with Rahm? Two pit bulls who for sport flay not only their enemies but the little people with their power from money and trashy mouths. I'm disgusted. Can't wait for the electorate to realize what they've done.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:34 AM | Permalink

Louder Than A Bomb 2014

Louder Than A Bomb wrapped up its annual month-long festival this weekend. Here are some of the highlights.

1. Chicago Social Movements.


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2. We Are The Roses.

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3. Violins.

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4. I'm Black.

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5. Spark Your Art.

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6. Why You Talk Like That?

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7. The Prison Industrial Complex Is . . .

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8. I Was Born.

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See also: Team Englewood vs. Rahm.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:59 AM | Permalink

Housewares Highlights!

The annual International Home + Housewares Show wrapped up on Tuesday in Chicago. Let's pretend we were there.

1. Gizmos And Gadgets.

"The IHHA is the world's biggest marketplace where 2,000 exhibitors descend upon Chicago's McCormick Center to showcase the latest product innovations in home-systems and housewares," WISH-TV reports.

"The show, not open to the public, attracts U.S. and international media and over 20,000 buyers from 100 countries."


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2. Cool Kitchen Stuff.

Chip clips, infusers and multi-cookers.

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3. Robots On Board.

The DEEBOT D77.

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GrillBot.

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4. Slicing, dicing and spicing.

Set it and forget it.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:46 AM | Permalink

The Cubs Are Still A Very Bad Bet

Sixty-one of the Cubs' 96 losses last season came with one of their top three starters on the mound - the same top three that return this season.

Apparently some Cubs fans haven't gotten the message about how bad their team really is, according to SBRForum's Doug Upstone. Consider:

* Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija is their best pitcher and on any other team he'd be a No. 3 starter at best - and a No. 4 on a quality team.

* The bullpen hasn't improved.

* The rest of the roster is so weak, they'll give the Astros a serious run for worst team in the majors this season.

So the serious value is with betting against the Cubs - as usual. Here's Upstone's report:


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:33 AM | Permalink

Smoking Stinks

"Here's a public service announcement from the American Cancer Society for the 'Smoking Stinks' campaign featuring take-offs on well-known fairy tales such as Rapunzel, The Frog Prince, and Sleeping Beauty," the Museum of Classic Chicago Television says in a video upload this week.

"This aired on local Chicago TV on Tuesday, July 4, 1978."


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Also from the Museum this week:

A girls club is a place to be.

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Bark if you like meat.

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The College of Automation.

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See also: The Museum of Classic Chicago Television's YouTube Channel.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:15 AM | Permalink

Here's The Emotions!

"The timeless music of the Grammy Award-winning female R&B group The Emotions continue to touch the hearts of adoring fans and admirers," dvideodon says in a YouTube upload this week.

"Comprised of three sisters, Wanda, Sheila and Jeanette Hutchinson, The Emotions originally performed as the Hutchinson Sunbeams as children, from 3 to 5 years of age, while singing gospel in their hometown Chicago."


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"Under the guidance of their father and manager Joe Hutchinson, the young trio performed popular ballads, folk music, gospel and blues, as they broadened their audiences by performing in New York. In 1958 the Sunbeams made their first television appearance on the Jerry Van Dyke Show. Years later as teenagers, the group signed with Stax Records in 1968, and recorded as The Emotions."

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Flowers.

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Here's The Emotions in interview three years ago:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:57 AM | Permalink

March 18, 2014

The [Tuesday] Papers

In the first of my primary notebooks: Russell Brand, Bruce Rauner and the Trib edit board. Guess which one I like best?

Digital Delusion
"Along the banks of the Mahoning River in the struggling Ohio steel town of Youngstown sits a once-abandoned furniture warehouse that has been converted into a sleek new laboratory," Reuters reports.

"Inside is a Silicon Valley-style workspace complete with open meeting areas and colorful stools. Several 3-D printers hum in the background, while engineers type computer codes that tell the machines how to create objects by layering materials.

"The lab, called America Makes, is the first in a series of so-called 'manufacturing innovation hubs' that President Barack Obama has launched with the promise that they could revitalize America's industrial sector and spur jobs growth in downtrodden communities like Youngstown.

"Seven more hubs are planned by the end of the year, including projects in Chicago, Detroit and Raleigh, North Carolina, that will follow the Youngstown model of bringing together businesses, non-profits and universities to pursue technological breakthroughs.

"But after more than a year of operation, the Youngstown hub underscores the challenges facing Obama's goal of ensuring 'a steady stream of good jobs into the 21st century,' as he put it in remarks at a White House event last month."

That's putting it kindly.

"Of six organizations in Youngstown and Cleveland - the nearest major city in the state - working on America Makes projects, none has made new hires for the work."

Click through for a glimpse of the future - and as an antidote to the media hype about Chicago's new digital lab.

Rahm's Pool Boys
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Chicago Infrastructure Trust today rolled out its second project, a retrofit and upgrade of indoor and outdoor swimming pools operated around the city by the Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools," Greg Hinz reports for Crain's.

"But in a statement released overnight, the trust released only the sketchiest of information about exactly what it has is mind, neglecting to say who, what and roughly how much. And the statement even manages to get the date wrong on which of the city's actual requests for proposal will be available."

Remember when Rahm's infrastructure trust was going to be the greatest thing since . . . digital printer labs? (And remember when such an announcement would get the full Rahm rollout?)

"In the statement, the trust said that it wants someone to 'retrofit and improve public swimming pools' without sticking taxpayers with the tab."

Phone calls and foot lockers? Please tell me that you have something more. Er, I mean, please tell me you aren't pinning the city's hopes to swimming pools and light fixtures.

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"Neither the release nor a spokeswoman for the trust had any details on exactly what will be done with the pools, though the goal is to "reduce carbon emissions" via increased energy efficiency.

"The spokeswoman said about 100 pools will be involved but said she did not know what type of energy improvements are being eyed - windmills to pump water, perhaps? - roughly how much in private capital might be needed, how much the potential savings are, when the work might take place or what other kinds of non-energy improvements might be coming to the pools."

Can't they just print out new swimming pools out at the new digital lab?

That's Luis!
"Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., has spent nearly $30,000 in legal fees since last summer, hiring a lawyer who specializes in ethics and congressional investigations after USA TODAY reported the congressman had kept a Chicago lobbyist working in his congressional office for years," the paper says.

Plus, from the Sun-Times:

"U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) is helping the re-election campaign of state Rep. Maria Antonia 'Toni' Berrios (D-Chicago) with a robocall in which he says Berrios is opposed by 'those who want to silence Latino voices.'"

Finally, strike three for wimping out.

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Local Music Notebook: Chicagoland!
Obama in the house & Chief Keef on the hook.

Kevin Trudeau Could Have Been President
Plus: The Problem With Chicago PD. In Local TV Notes.

30 For 30: Brian
What if I told you he wasn't the greatest?

Ode To The Des Plaines Oasis
Goodbye to a beacon.

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BeachBook
* The Replacements: Election Day.

* C.H.I.C.A.G.O.

* Cubs Fire Team Psychologist Who Didn't Seem To Do Anything. Transference or projection?

* Chiquita Merges With Irish Firm.

* Jenner & Block Profits Plunge.

* DePaul Basketball Attendance Finishes Below 2,000 Per Game. TIF to pay students to attend?

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Brand new bag job.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:52 AM | Permalink

Primary 2014 Notebook 1

Those of you who are longtime Beachwood readers know I won't be voting today because I don't believe journalists should participate in the internal activities of political parties. And that's what a primary is: The parties are deciding their nominees for the fall.

That doesn't mean there aren't some folks I'm pulling for - Will Guzzardi and Jay Travis come to mind.

But I'm not a Democrat, so those choices aren't mine to make.

Those of you who are longtime Beachwood readers also know that I don't believe voting is the end-all, be-all of democracy. In fact, it's nothing more than fig leaf on the real, anti-democratic machinery that wants you to think you chose your political representatives when in fact your political leaders gamed the system to leave you with few real choices - especially in Chicago, Illinois.

So, no, you won't be reading here that you should "Vote Or Blame Yourself."

Cue Russell Brand.

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Third World Way
"Several Chicago polling places opened hours late Tuesday because doors were locked or poll workers were missing, and many others were delayed because of confusion over the new electronic poll books, elections officials said," the Tribune reports.

"We have one polling place where we had to force the door open" three hours after it was supposed to be up and running, said James Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections. "We could not find the proprietor to open the door."

Allen told the Sun-Times that "It's an indication that there are some people who are forgetting that it's Election Day."

By "some people," he means election judges.

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"We don't believe it's anything nefarious," Allen said.

Just get into town, Jim?

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"One polling station in the Logan Square neighborhood opened almost three hours late, said Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), who is also the committeemen for the ward."

So Rahm is behind it.

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"They only sent one judge for the . . . precinct," said poll watcher Mario Mondane, stationed in the 41st Ward's Fourth Precinct in the 7100 block of North Harlem. "He doesn't know how to operate the machines."

But the Machine knows how to operate.

Trib Board Taxed
"Several times in recent weeks, we've stressed that punishing tax policies (and many politicians' punishing attitudes toward employers) have left Illinois hostile to job creation," the Tribune edit board says. "We could change the direction of a state government that sees employers as fat cats to be plundered for ever more tax revenue."

If only!

Two-thirds of corporations in Illinois don't pay income taxes. It's been in all the papers.

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"We wish smugness, self-satisfaction, didn't keep so many people from voting this Election Day."

Well, it's not stopping you, Trib edit board!

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Bruce Rauner as change agent.

News In Reverse
"Rauner Faces Union Grief Downstate."

Um, a dozen folks with signs hardly indicates grief; I'd say it's a good sign for Rauner.

Back To School
"This state needs a more urgent push for choice and innovation," the Trib edit page says.

"It's one of the reasons this page has endorsed Bruce Rauner in the Republican primary for governor. He has enthusiastically supported more education options for children. Want evidence? Visit Rauner College Prep in Chicago, where 83 percent of the class of 2013 enrolled in a four-year college."

Yes, let's visit.

"On TV, Bruce Rauner has barraged voters with a commercial in which he boasts that he 'helped start charter schools' to fight failing educational programs," the Sun-Times reports.

"Other than giving millions of dollars, though, the Republican candidate for governor doesn't have much to do with running the Noble Network of Charter Schools, which includes a school that bears his name, according to the head of Noble.

"Rauner has 'very little' involvement in running Noble's 14 high schools, which include Rauner College Prep on the near West Side and one middle school, says Michael Milkie, the former Chicago Public Schools math teacher who founded Noble and is now its superintendent and chief executive officer.

"Rauner, a venture capitalist and member of Noble's 20-member board, says: 'I've never had a role in day-to-day operations at Noble or, frankly, in almost anything I get involved with. My role is generally as a board member or kind of an adviser providing overall strategic advice or feedback. . . . I go to the campus that they named after our family once a year, maybe twice a year, to talk to students and the principal, things like that.'"

In other words, Rauner threw money at the problem.

Maybe He Was Getting His Carhartts Dry-Cleaned
Rauner refused to meet with the editorial boards of the Springfield and Peoria newspapers.

"We would have liked to sit down with Rauner to discuss his ideas, but he did not respond to an invitation to interview or to answer the questions we sent his way," the Journal-Star says. "Evidently we were not alone in that regard."

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TweetWood

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:40 AM | Permalink

Ode To The Des Plaines Oasis

"A long-standing northern Illinois concession area built atop Interstate 90 has closed, but not before travelers and spectators made a final trip to visit the Des Plaines Oasis," AP reports.

"The rest stop along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway first opened in 1959 and was initially a destination point for people taking road trips to the suburbs. It's being razed to make way for a $2 billion road-widening project. Its final day of operation was Sunday; workers shut its doors for good at 8 p.m."

Des Plaines Oasis, you will be missed.

1. Ain't No Oasis Like It . . .


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2. The Official Site.

3. The Des Plaines Oasis McDonald's On Yelp.

4. Crain's Photo Gallery.

5. "There are some who see the oasis as just a glorified food court with greasy fare and weary truckers," the Tribune reports.

"But others will mourn its loss, viewing it as a symbol of Chicago as potent as deep-dish pizza and the Willis Tower.

"I have a lot of memories tied into it," said Sheila Bering. "It might seem kind of cheesy, but to me, it's iconic."

Editor's Note: When I was a kid and my family would drive from Minneapolis to Chicago for summer visits, the McDonald's over the highway was always a highlight to me. When I was older, it was a sign that I was near Chicago; a gateway if you will.

6. Photo: Newly Opened In 1959.

7. The Basement.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:48 AM | Permalink

A Very Special 30 For 30: Brian

What if I told you, he wasn't the greatest?

That sometimes, it is a matter of life and death?

That no one can outrun the truth.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:32 AM | Permalink

Local TV Notes: Kevin Trudeau Could've Been President

"Best-selling American author Kevin Trudeau, whose name became synonymous with late-night TV pitches, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for swindling consumers through infomercials for his book about weight loss," AP reports.

"As he imposed the sentence prosecutors had requested, district judge Ronald Guzman portrayed 50-year-old Trudeau as a habitual fraudster from early adulthood. So brazen was Trudeau, the judge said, he once even used his own mother's social security number during a scam."

If he'd gone into politics, he'd be president!

Seriously. He's an amazingly persuasive performer. And he's got all the character traits of our best pols.

"Since his 20s, he has steadfastly attempted to cheat others for his own gain," Guzman said, adding that Trudeau was "deceitful to the very core".

"Trudeau showed little emotion as the sentence was handed down at a hearing in Chicago.

"Addressing the judge in a 10-minute statement, Trudeau apologized and said he had become a changed man. He had meditated, prayed and read self-help books, he said, while locked up at Chicago's Metropolitan Correctional Center.

"I have truly had a significant reawakening," said Trudeau, who was dressed in orange jail clothes. "If I ever do an infomercial again . . . I promise: no embellishments, no puffery, no lies."

First, the fact that he's even contemplating a return to the airwaves is both unsurprising and stupid thing to say at sentencing. Second, he pretty much just finally admitted he's a fraud.

Still, it sounds awfully familiar.

"[Murray] Coffey reported [for New City] that in 1990 Trudeau pleaded guilty to larceny charges and in 1991 to credit-card fraud," Michael Miner noted in 1996, "and that he recently told a Houston newspaper, 'My two felonies were the best thing that ever happened to me . . . I've learned from my mistakes. We shouldn't be penalized for the rest of our lives for mistakes we made years and years ago.'"

I couldn't find Coffey's story online, which is a shame because I remember it and it was fantastic. Here's another taste, again from Miner.

The Problem With Chicago PD
"Within a minute-and-a-half of the first episode, the show has summed up its central message: Police violence works," Aaron Cantu writes for Truthout.

"This is relayed again and again throughout the series: When a cop with a chain-wrapped fist savagely beats a Spanish-speaking suspect demanding an attorney until he relinquishes a tip; when officers debase the idea of policing without intent to arrest; when cops round up black non-criminals and deliver them to precinct torture chambers. In every episode, these methods achieve the desired ends."

That makes Chicago PD a throwback to the days when police dramas were simple matters of black and white. It's like the evolution of a more realistic complexity - from Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue to The Shield and The Wire - never occurred. Paging Chicago Code!

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"Crime dramas that embellish the lives of police officers are not new. Criminologist Yvonne Jewkes says crime drama is 'the most enduring of all cinematic genres,' and television holds to the same rule.1 What sets Chicago PD apart from others in the genre is that police violence isn't just presented as an exciting feature of the job; rather, its producers have made it the primary point of appeal to its growing audience of 8 million."

I mean, if Americans want to see an embellished crime drama, they can just watch Chicagoland.

Another Infomercial Icon
From the inbox:

"What's it like to be a modern day infomercial icon? Just ask Marc Gill, the pop culture infomercial star known for booming voice, beard, and stature. We see him on TV all the time pitching kitchen gadgets that make life easier.

"Marc has certainly mastered the art of the pitch and has excelled and won awards for pitching products from some of the world's largest and most successful kitchen appliance companies. He'd love to offer his valuable tips on how to sell a product to your viewers who are struggling to sell their own products.

"Marc is the new face of the Chicago born Ronco Company. He will be in Chicago March 15-18 and will be available for interviews.

"To learn more about Marc Gill, go to: http://www.butimnotstoppingthere.com."

Harpo Marks
"Oprah Winfrey is selling Harpo Studios in Chicago to a developer, but the studio will remain on the property for another two years," Variety reports.

"We have entered into a purchasing agreement with Sterling Bay for the four-building Harpo Studios campus in Chicago's West Loop," Harpo told Crain's Chicago Business in a statement. "We expect the transaction to be closed in 30 days. The property will be leased back to Harpo for two years and the studio will continue to produce programming for OWN."

After which the complex will be turned into a giant Blackhawks bar.

Window To A World
"The Chicago-based PBS station Window to the World has agreed to hold off on its attempt to shut down streaming television service FilmOn X until after the Supreme Court decides whether Aereo is legal, according to court papers filed by FilmOn X," MediaPost reports.

"FilmOn X also says in court documents that it has agreed not to make Window to the World's programs available to users outside the Chicago market, until the Supreme Court issues its ruling."

Is that a promise or a threat?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:47 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Chicagoland!

1. C.H.I.C.A.G.O.

The latest in a series of drill videos about Chicago is pretty fucking fantastic.


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2. The Godfather Of Chicago Hip-Hop.

"When considering his scene-stealing verses on Earl Sweatshirt's Doris LP, it's no shocker that Vince Staples' just released mixtape, Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2, is drenched with cleverly worded gangland tales and the street pathos of his native Long Beach," MTV reports.

"What's surprising, though, is that the Def Jam signee was able to get famed producer No I.D. to provide the bulk of the beats on the a 10-track feast. The Godfather of Chicago hip-hop doesn't just work with anyone."

No I.D. is Dion Wilson.

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Here's the opening track to Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2 (in which Staples calls out Barack Obama):

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3. Chief Keef Alert.

"Days after telling the Tribune that he "ain't coming back" to court after completing a stint in rehab, rapper Chief Keef was arrested and charged with DUI in Highland Park, authorities said," the paper reports.

"Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, was pulled over by police around 12:35 p.m. on March 5 in the 2600 block of Skokie Valley Road for an expired registration, Highland Park Deputy Police Chief George Pfutzenreuter said."

Someone's personal assistant is getting fired!

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"During the traffic stop, he showed signs of impairment from drugs," Pfutzenreuter said. "There was an odor of burnt cannabis about his presence and in his vehicle and some admission of his use."

Dude. What did your attorney tell you? Don't ever talk to the cops - and don't ever admit anything. Oh, and don't ever take a field sobriety test. Better yet, learn your fucking lesson.

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"After field sobriety tests, Cozart was charged with DUI, as well as driving with a suspended license, operation of an uninsured motor vehicle and expired registration, the deputy chief said.

"Cozart appeared in Cook County Court in Skokie on Feb. 28, where a judge released him from court supervision after he completed a 90-day rehab program in California. During a December court hearing, Judge Earl Hoffenberg told Cozart's three lawyers during a hearing at the Skokie courthouse that he would send the rapper to jail if he were to fail another drug test."

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TMZ broke the story this way:

"Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, Keef was pulled over in Highland Park, IL early in the AM on March 5th for having expired tags on his 2010 Jeep Cherokee. When officers approached the vehicle, we're told it reeked of pot and, according to our sources, Keef openly admitted to smoking before driving.

"We're told police administered a field sobriety test and Keef choked. He was placed under arrest at the scene. In addition to DUI, Keef was also charged with driving on a suspended license and cited for having no proof of insurance."

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It's actually not funny. It's sad.

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Previously:
* South Side 16-Year-Old Gets Shot, Blows Up.

* Rhymefest Vs. Chief Keef.

* Chief Keef's Deadly Rap War.

* More Shit Chief Keef Don't Like.

* Chief Keef Loves Soda, Ain't White.

* Chief Keef: Baller Of Confusion.

* Free Chief Keef!

* Save Chief Keef.

* Chief Keef: Psychedrillic.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:50 AM | Permalink

March 17, 2014

The [Monday] Papers

"A daughter of Mr. Rauner attended Walter Payton College Preparatory High School, one of Chicago's most coveted selective-enrollment public high schools, though the family had access to a top suburban public high school," the New York Times reports.

"Mr. Rauner later donated $250,000 to a Payton-related foundation. The contribution came a year and a half after Mr. Rauner's daughter was admitted, a campaign aide noted, and the Rauners have a long history of giving to the Chicago Public Schools, among other organizations."

What an odd story by the Times; the contribution was suspicious but the main point of controversy in this episode was Rauner picking up the phone and calling then-CPS CEO Arne Duncan, now the U.S. Secretary of Education, to clout his daughter in.

If the Times feels the matter is unsettled, as opposed to the inference it makes about Rauner's donation to the school, it could at least reference his mind-boggling series of changing explanations to explain the call to Duncan.

Also, it could place its own call to Duncan.

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The Times also describes Rauner as "No decades-long veteran of insular Statehouse politics." Right.

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"But much can shift, experts cautioned, given a wide and well-known field that includes Mr. Brady (in his third attempt to be governor); Dan Rutherford, the state treasurer whose campaign appears to have slid in recent weeks after a former state employee filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexual harassment; and Kirk Dillard, a state senator who gained support from public sector unions after he recently voted against a measure aimed at shoring up the state's deeply troubled pension system and that unions say amounts to a reduction in retiree benefits."

I'd like to know which experts are cautioning that much can shift enough to put Brady or Rutherford in the running.

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"In a way, resolution of [the pension] issue - the Legislature last year approved changes intended to overcome Illinois's reputation as having one of the most underfunded pension systems in the nation - was one more crucial example of Mr. Quinn's remarkable political fortune. No longer could Republicans easily use the pension crisis against him."

Huh?

First, the pension changes weren't addressed to overcome the state's reputation, but to overcome the problem.

Second, the issue is hardly resolved; five lawsuits have been filed (four already consolidated) against the legislation, which is likely unconstitutional.

Third, the idea that Republicans can no longer easily use the pension crisis against Quinn in the campaign is laughable; Rauner is the candidate most vociferously ripping the bill Quinn signed, and Dillard voted against it.

Poison Pill
"Illinois was the first state to get a poison center about 60 years ago. In a few months, it could be the only state without poison control services," the Tribune reports.

"The Illinois Poison Center answers thousands of calls from hospital professionals and concerned family members every year, trains hundreds of toxicology experts, and creates educational material on poison prevention and treatment.

"State lawmakers are now pressed to increase the center's funding or watch its services disappear in late June."

That's okay; just let the market sort it out.

Water World
"Crack open a beer and what ripples out is 95% water," the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

"Water quality determines taste. Water is why beer ads tend to mythologize springs, glaciers and aquifers. It's why the MillerCoors brewery in Milwaukee ranks as the biggest user of water in the metro region.

"Yet the vast preponderance of water that creates a cold one isn't added at the brewery. Rather, it irrigates the fields that produce beer's next most critical ingredient: barley.

"Today, MillerCoors, along with others in the water-intensive brewing industry, is confirming what scientists and environmentalists already figured out: The golden age of cheap, seemingly limitless supplies of fresh water is at an end, even in the world's most developed nations.

"'No water, no beer,' says Kim Marotta, who oversees water policies at MillerCoors."

D'oh!

(h/t: Crain's)

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Let The Sunshine In
Audit the city's website and help fix FOIA.

What's Rahm's Favorite Chicago Poem?
We're about to find out.

Cracking The Chicagoland Code: Episode 2
You're either a gangbanger or a Blackhawks fan.

SportsMonday: Keeping Hossa Healthy
Break point.

Windy City Plane Spotting
Gutsy gusty landings.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
A pretty rich one: Snow Tha Product, Dex Romweber, The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Augstines, UFUX, Los Temerarios, Slightly Stoopid, Whitey Morgan & the 78s, Russian Circles, and John Prine.

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BeachBook
* On Election Night, The Drinks Aren't On Rauner.

* Chicago Town TV Ad Queried By Domino's.

* Obama Denying More FOIAs Than Ever.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: The antidote.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:48 AM | Permalink

Sunshine Week Website Audit

In honor of Sunshine Week, Citizen Watchdog is asking citizens to join a nation-wide audit of local government websites. Go to watchdogwire.com for more information.

Can you access budgets on your county website, or find contact information for all public officials? Are meeting minutes available? Is there a database of all public spending?

It's surprisingly easy to audit your city or county website - here's how you get started:

1. Log on to your local government's website and start clicking around. (You should be able to find it easily by Googling the name of your city or county).

2. Not sure what to look for? There is a rubric on the website to help you determine what information should be readily available.

3. Write down your observations about how user-friendly or transparent the website is for everyday citizens. Frame your thoughts in the style of a blog post and it could be featured on Watchdog Wire. Send your article to Info@WatchdogWire.com.

4. Not a writer? Fill out a web form about your city website and send the information to watchdog wire.

5. Watchdog Wire staff will send the feedback to your local government on YOUR behalf.

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Tweet It Up!
More Sunshine Week goodness: A Tweet-Up with Open Secrets on Wednesday from noon until 1 p.m.

How much power does the lobbying industry have over American politics and, more specifically, our politicians? Do we need comprehensive election finance reform? Can we fight back against these moneyed special interests? This will be discussed during a Sunshine Week tweet-up with Open Secrets.

Launched in the 1980s, the Center for Responsive Politics aims to create a more educated voter, a more involved citizenry, and a more responsive government through their website www.OpenSecrets.org, where they track all political donations and lobbying activity. Join the group as they tweet up with executive director Sheila Krumholz, an old college friend of Steve Rhodes!

WHEN: Wednesday, 12 -1 p.m. ET

WHERE: Twitter.com or your Twitter app, using the hashtag #WDWTU

WHO: You, @OpenSecretsDC, and @WatchdogWire

WHAT: A conversation about the lobbying industry, election finance, and overall government accountability.

WHY: The power of special interests is of growing concern to many Americans, as many believe it undermines the democratic process. Open Secrets aims to track and reveal the faces funding our elected representatives, holding these public servants accountable to the American people.

Now to the HOW part . . . During a tweet-up, an organization or a person (in this case, @WatchdogWire) promotes a specific Twitter hashtag (ours will be #WDWTU for "Watchdog Wire tweet-up"), and schedules a time to meet on Twitter.

Typically, there is a moderator and a guest who engage in a Q&A session for everyone to see. You can simply observe the conversation or choose to join in and ask a question. Think of this as a virtual town hall with Open Secrets.

Make sure you include #WDWTU in each of your tweets during the conversation so that all will see them. You may want to follow them at @WatchdogWire and your fellow watchdogs tweeting with #WDWTU. Use this as an opportunity to grow your network with like-minded individuals.

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Beachwood Bulletin!
Don't stop there: Let's Fix FOIA!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:26 AM | Permalink

45 Minutes Of Windy City Plane Spotting

"Winds were gusty and strong all day both Thursday and Friday (out of the south-southwest at 20-25 steady with gusts to over 30 on Friday) and it took every bit of skill and concentration in me to get these, as steady as they are, as I do not film with a tripod. Filmed 3/13/14 & 3/14/14 with a Sony HX200V camera," Jay's Aviation says.

"Includes Air India, Lufthansa, All Nippon Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Iberia, Air France Cargo, American Airlines, United Airlines, numerous regional carriers, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Alaska Airlines, AeroMexico, US Airways, Virgin America, Cargolux, Lufthansa Cargo, Qatar Cargo, Qatar Airways, FedEx Cargo, Austrian, TACA, Royal Jordanian Airlines."

Click through for descriptions of Jay's highlights.


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See also: Jay's Aviation YouTube Channel.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:16 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Sex Workers, Praying Drunk & Rahm's Favorite Chicago Poem

"The prostitution debate will get nowhere as long as women who sell sex are seen as victims to be 'rescued', their views ignored, argues a former sex worker in this extract from her new book," the Guardian says.

Here's the Chicago part (links added):

"Awareness-raising about prostitution is not a value-neutral activity. Sex workers see a straight line between foundation dollars earmarked for advertisements such as those that appeared on Chicago buses - Get Rich. Work In Prostitution. Pimps Keep The Profits, And Prostituted Women Often Pay With Their Lives - and the allocation of resources to the Chicago police to arrest pimps in order to save women whom they call 'prostituted.'

"Inevitably, all of these women face arrest, no matter what they call them, a demonstration of the harm produced by awareness raising despite any good intentions.

"'On paper, sex workers are still not as likely to face felony charges as their patrons,' according to the Chicago Reporter, 'who can be charged with a felony on their first offense under the Illinois Safe Children's Act, which was enacted in 2010.'

"But when the paper examined felony arrest statistics they found, [the] data shows that prostitution-related felonies are being levied almost exclusively against sex workers. During the past four years, they made up 97% of the 1,266 prostitution-related felony convictions in Cook County. And the number only grew: felony convictions among sex workers increased by 68% between 2008 and 2011.

"This was when anti-prostitution groups such as the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation became active in the city, demanding johns pay."

Praying Drunk, Home Remedies
"Kyle Minor, author, most recently of the collection of short fiction Praying Drunk, and Angela Pneuman, author of the collection Home Remedies, will read from their work as part of this spring's Roosevelt University Reading Series at 5 p.m. Thursday in Roosevelt's Gage Gallery," the university says.

"Minor is the author of two collections of short fiction, Praying Drunk (2014) and In the Devil's Territory (2008). Recent work appears in print and online at The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, Salon, Esquire, The Iowa Review, Best American Mystery Stories, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. He lives in hotel rooms and on airplanes.

"Angela Pneuman, raised in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, teaches fiction writing at Stanford University. Her collection Home Remedies was hailed as 'call[ing] to mind Alice Munro' (San Francisco Chronicle), and her fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories (2004 & 2012), Ploughshares, Los Angeles Review, and many other literary magazines. She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford, a Presidential Fellow at SUNY Albany, and the recipient of the first inaugural Alice Hoffman Prize from Ploughshares.

"Free and open to the public, the reading is presented by the MFA in Creative Writing Program, the University's literary magazine, Oyez Review, and the Department of Literature and Languages at Roosevelt University."

Rahm Picks A Poem
"In an effort to document the role of poetry in the lives of Chicagoans, the Favorite Poem Project and Chicago's own Poetry Foundation asked residents of Chicago to submit their favorite poems and why the poems have special meaning to them," the foundation says.

"From many submissions, the poems of five Chicagoans are featured, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Videos of the five Chicagoans reading their selected favorite poems and commentary will be featured in the Favorite Poem Project: Chicago initiative that will launch on Friday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street. A reception will follow the event. Because of limited space capacity, RSVPs are required to attend this event.

"With Favorite Poem Project: Chicago, the Poetry Foundation brings to our city poet Robert Pinsky's national initiative as U.S. Poet Laureate (1997-2000). Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project celebrates poetry as a vocal art. Pinsky will introduce the program.

"A favorite poem can be a talisman or mantra, a clue, landmark or guiding star, and dwells deep down in our psyches," said Poetry Foundation president Robert Polito. "The readings on the videos are investigative, probing, revelatory, and ultimately autobiographical and moving. Chicago possesses a rich poetry tradition, and we invite our fellow citizens to join us in launching this poetry initiative."

EVENT DETAILS: Friday, April 11, at 7 p.m. at The Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street.

RSVP: Ashley Sheehan, 312.799.8026

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About The Favorite Poem Project
The Favorite Poem Project is dedicated to celebrating, documenting and encouraging poetry's role in Americans' lives. Robert Pinsky, the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, founded the Favorite Poem Project shortly after the Library of Congress appointed him to the post in 1997. During the one-year open call for submissions, 18,000 Americans wrote to the project volunteering to share their favorite poems - Americans from ages 5 to 97, from every state, of diverse occupations and backgrounds. From those letters emerged several enduring collections: Three anthologies and 50 mini-documentaries, which are available for viewing at favoritepoem.org.

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Trailer Time
The Age of Picasso and Matisse: Modern Masters from the Art Institute of Chicago:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:42 AM | Permalink

Cracking The Chicagoland Code Episode 2: Fixing The Facts

Starring Billy Dreck as himself and Barbara Byrd-Bennett pleading for facts that CNN and its local fixer, Mark Konkol, apparently don't know exist - and prove her wrong.


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Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:32 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Keeping Hossa Healthy

So do we think Marian Hossa was really injured or did the savvy Hawks perhaps say, um, Mr. NHL veteran superstar who almost certainly is the difference between us contending for another Cup or us bowing out of the playoffs early, perhaps you should take a break?

You've had a sizable workload this season (three-quarters of the schedule and the Olympics) and we don't want you to overdo it?

Hossa missed the five games leading up to Sunday night's 4-1 victory over the Red Wings at the United Center. At the start of his absence, I saw one local report that included the words "shoulder injury" but after that the usual wall of silence descended between Hossa's health and the public.

Let's take a moment here to say that if NHL teams are going to hide the specifics of their players' injuries, in part to protect them from delightful foes who have been known to target vulnerable limbs for special abuse late in the season and in the postseason, let's all just say the player is injured. It is time to retire the unhelpful (and probably oftentimes false) phrases: "upper body injury" and "lower body injury."

An overlooked highlight of said Olympics for Blackhawks fans was when Slovakia lost its first elimination round match 5-3 to the Czech Republic. It wasn't that the fans had a rooting interest; it was that the fans were pulling for Slovakia to wrap up the tournament with a still-healthy Hossa. Mission accomplished, we think - unless Hossa suffered his injury there but then concealed it until after he returned to the Hawks.

Anyway, this "taking a break" thing makes a ton of sense for various Hawks. Any little injury to a Hawk stalwart at this point means that player sits out at least a few extra days, especially if he played in the Olympics. Guys like Duncan Keith or Jonathan Toews or even Niklas Hjalmarsson, i.e., guys who played in Russia until the very end (Keith and Toews' Canadian team knocked off Hjalmarsson's Swedes in the final), should almost certainly get some sort of break before the playoffs.

Unless the team's playoff chances are imperiled, that is. Of course the Hawks are going to make the playoffs - they are a dozen points ahead of the seventh-place Minnesota Wild (80) heading into this evening's action, let alone eighth-place Dallas (75). Eight teams from each conference advance.

But they are one point behind the Avalanche. And they have to be playing to at least finish ahead of Colorado, the team that projects as their first-round playoff foe. This year, teams that finish second and third in their divisions stay in the divisions for first-round match-ups no matter what. First seeds might face wild cards from the other division in their conference in the first round.

So barring a big Hawk win streak or a Blues (99 points for first in the Central Division ahead of Colorado and then the Hawks) run of setbacks, the home team will face the Avalanche to start the postseason. And the Hawks will compete with them for home ice advantage for the last dozen or so games of the regular season.

And if anyone doubted Hossa's importance to the Hawks as the season winds down, they could break down video of the Hawks' last two games - the win over the Wings and a home 3-2 loss to the mediocre Nashville Predators two days prior.

Now you don't want to make too much of the Wings win. Detroit was missing about a half dozen of their best players due to injuries, from Henrik Zetterberg to Pavel Datsyuk to Todd Bertuzzi. Still, without Hossa, the Hawks played what coach Joel Quenneville called their "worst game of the season" against the Preds. They then bounced back to pull away from the Wings on Sunday with Hossa asserting himself more and more as the game went on. He eventually scored the critical goal that made it 3-1 early in the third period and also notched a pair of assists.

In the bigger picture, the Hawks may be competing with the Avalanche for playoff positioning but they are also still playing it cool. I loved the fact that heading into their game with Colorado earlier last week (a 3-2 loss), the defending champs made a delightful little statement right off the bat that the game actually meant very little; they chose to start little-used backup Ante Raanta in goal.

The Hawks will strive to finish ahead of the 'lanche in the standings as they finish the season strong. But they know that the most important thing is bringing a healthy team into the playoffs. The regular season record between the teams (the Hawks also lost to Colorado on March 4) won't matter at all when the puck drops on the playoffs in four short weeks.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:10 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Snow Tha Product at Reggies on Saturday night.


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2. The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band at Reggies on Friday night.

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3. Augustines at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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4. UFUX at Township on Friday night.

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5. Los Temerarios at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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6. Slightly Stoopid at the Aragon on Friday night.

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7. Whitey Morgan and the 78s at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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8. Russian Circles at the Metro on Sunday night.

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9. Dex Romweber at Reggies on Friday night.

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10. John Prine at the Symphony Center on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:06 AM | Permalink

March 15, 2014

The Weekend Desk Report

Weekend Desk Editor Natasha Julius is on an assignment of world import but promises to return next week and be twice as funny as she would have been today.

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Beachwood Podcast No. 5

This week Tuffy and the Angry Aussie return to Chicagoland to deconstruct Episode 2. Then we talk a little speed camera action and give lip service to Tuesday's primary.


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The Beachwood Tip Line: Be part of the .01 percent.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Mike Watt and his band The Minutemen put out a classic album 30 years ago called Double Nickels on the Dime. He joins us this week to talk about the record that put San Pedro, California on the musical map. Then Jim and Greg review new albums from Grammy winner Pharrell Williams & Philly rockers The War on Drugs."

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BeachBook
* Please Vaccinate Your Children, Jay Cutler.

* Ukrainian Oligarch Faces Corruption Charges In Chicago.

* Cards Against Humanity To Be Sold By Smaller Retailers.

* Piggly Wiggly Pushes Back Into Chicago Market.

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TweetWood

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Perspectivas Latinas: Calor

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Emily Lucena and Kathryn Mercado of CALOR discuss how they assist Latinos and people of color affected by HIV/AIDS by providing substance abuse, employment, housing and other services.

Saturday at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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How To Draw The Maps: Redistricting Reform in American Politics

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The University of Chicago Institute of Politics hosts a panel of leading experts and analysts in a lively conversation about the impact redistricting has on the quality of our politics and public policy, and whether reform is possible.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Understanding The Role And Impact Of Lobbyists In Illinois

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A panel of current and retired political leaders and lobbyists hold an open conversation on all facets of lobbying for public and private enterprises.

Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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26th Annual Black Nurses Celebration

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The Chicago chapter of the National Black Nurses Association celebrates the contributions of African American nurses who made a difference in their communities.

Sunday at 12 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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Women And Girls Inspiring Change

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Global Girls honors individuals and organizations empowering voices and impacting women and girls, both locally and globally, while sharing cultures from around the world including performances of capoeira, Indian dance, and ballet.

Sunday at 2 p.m. on CAN TV21.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:53 AM | Permalink

March 14, 2014

The [Friday] Papers

Chicagoland needs an antidote, and we're on it!

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I'll be on Beachwood Radio this weekend with the Angry Aussie discussing the latest episode; look for it in this space on Saturday evening.

Coke Fiend
"A former Mississippi sharecropper who landed millions of dollars in contracts from the city of Chicago was sentenced Thursday to 17 months in prison for his role in a minority-contracting scandal that involved sewer deals held by a company whose investors secretly included then-Mayor Richard M. Daley's son and nephew," the Sun-Times reports.

"Jesse Brunt, 77, the owner of Brunt Bros. Transfer, had pleaded guilty more than a year ago to mail fraud, admitting the trucking company's role in the city deals was a sham.

"The black Chicago businessman admitted Brunt Bros. acted as a minority front in sewer deals with City Hall beginning with Kenny Industrial Services, owned by the clout-heavy Kenny family, and continued when their business was taken over in 2003 by a company owned in part by Daley's son Patrick Daley and nephew Robert G. Vanecko."

Here's the kicker:

"Daley's son and nephew weren't charged in the scheme and were never interviewed by investigators, Brunt's attorney Jeffrey Steinback said in court Thursday."

Chicagoland!

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"Daley and Vanecko had secret ownership stakes in Municipal Sewer Services, created by Anthony Duffy to take over the city contracts from Kenny's company . . . Brunt admitted his fraud cost the city nearly $8.8 million."

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"Explaining the arrangement to the judge, Steinback said: 'Two big shots' from Kenny 'thought of it. They helped him fill out the certification . . . and basically they ran the show. These two guys' - whom Steinback did not identify - '. . . made millions, and they walked because the statute of limitations passed and they went bankrupt.'

"Duffy ran Kenny's sewer-cleaning business. When the company went bankrupt in 2003, Duffy got financing from Cardinal Growth, a Chicago venture capital firm, to buy the assets and take over the city contracts, with Brunt continuing to work as a minority-owned front.

"Cardinal Growth was headed by Robert Bobb and Joseph McInerney, businessmen with close ties to the Daley family."

Sources close to my imagination tell me that after the bankruptcy, they all met at the Pepper Canister - but didn't talk business at all.

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"The mayor's son and nephew were investors in Duffy's sewer company, but he never disclosed their ownership stake in filings with City Hall, then lied about it when questioned by the FBI."

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The former mayor could not be reached because he was busy enjoying a Coke.

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MasterRahm
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration sold more than $883 million in bonds this week to pay bills and maintain services, a strategy that will cost taxpayers down the road but lets him put off some difficult choices leading up to his re-election campaign," the Tribune reports.

"Aldermen, whose terms are also up in the spring 2015 elections, voted last month to grant the mayor wide latitude to increase the city's debt and spend the money as he sees fit with few questions.

"The council also authorized doubling, to $1 billion, Emanuel's short-term borrowing authority - essentially the city's credit card - a move that allows the mayor to cover operating expenses such as legal settlements, back pay for city workers and day-to-day maintenance."

See, when Rahm said the city had to change the way it did business, he meant using MasterCard instead of VISA.

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"Some of those bonds also will refinance $130 million in debt that was coming due, Chief Financial Officer Lois Scott said. The highly criticized practice, known as 'scoop and toss,' pushes those debt payments decades into the future and increases the cost to taxpayers."

Gee, "scoop and toss" evokes something familiar, I'm not sure what . . .

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"Administration officials would not provide a breakdown of how the money will be spent."

That's okay - if they used a Target card we'll have the info soon enough.

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"What is clear, however, is that the borrowing gives Emanuel alternatives to raising taxes or making deep budget cuts as the city faces enormous debt and worker pension obligations. At a news conference Thursday to announce a new round of city street paving, Emanuel reiterated how he has delivered on key services without raising major taxes.

"'One thing I will say, though, with absolute certainty: The budget will be balanced,' Emanuel said."

Of course it will be - it's the law.

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"'We will put resources back into the rainy day fund,' he continued, 'and we will absolutely make our investment in our children's future with after-school investments, adding 5,000 more kids to pre-K and putting additional resources into our neighborhood services, like rodent abatement, paving new streets, filling potholes, tree trimming, making sure a world-class city has world-class neighborhoods and our residents live in a world-class city.'"

It's easy to brave when you have a limitless credit card. Rahm learned that growing up.

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The Night The Chicago Died Dude Died
"Peter Callander, a British songwriter who provided lyrics for hits of the 1960s and '70s like 'The Night Chicago Died' and 'The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde,' died on Feb. 25 in Haresfield, Middlesex, England," the New York Times reports.

"He was 74."

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This Week In Juvey
My weekly roundup of (not boring) juvenile justice news.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs
Cut rate in Wicker Park.

Sexy Science At Schubas
Plus: Lindblom High's Plagiaree & Berwyn's Mini Comic Con.

Techies Turn On Obama
Geek squad has had enough.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: T. Mills, Citizen, The Wonder Years, Jennifer Nettles, HIM, Anathema, Fireworks, Aaron Cooper, 3 Hour Catalyst, Imagine Dragons, and James McMurtry.

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Let's Do This!
Please retweet and then click through and "Applaud" and/or leave a comment.

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BeachBook
* Ezra Klein: Classic Liberal.

* A New Kind Of Streetwise Coming To Chicago.

* I Crashed A Wall Street Secret Society.

* The Wind Blows In Chicago.

* Judge: Illinois Lottery Must Release Records.

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TweetWood

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Getting the most basic, essential facts wrong.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Secret findings.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:43 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. T. Mills at Reggies on Tuesday night.


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2. Citizen at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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3. The Wonder Years at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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4. Jennifer Nettles at the Chicago Theatre on Wednesday night.

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5. HIM at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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6. Anathema at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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7. Fireworks at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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8. Aaron Cooper at the Elbo Room on Monday night.

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9. 3 Hour Catalyst at the Elbo Room on Sunday night.

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10. Imagine Dragons in Rosemont on Thursday night.

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11. James McMurtry at City Winery on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:30 AM | Permalink

Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office

On one hand, the second installment of Chicagoland wasn't quite as cringe-inducing as the debut because expectations had been lowered even further since the start of the "docu-series." On the other hand . . . wow. This show needs an antidote, and we're on it!

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Pre-show tweets:

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Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

Technologists Turn On Obama

Representing a large group of top computer science experts and professors, the Electronic Frontier Foundation on Thursday submitted a brief to a federal appeals court supporting the American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit over the NSA's mass call records collection program. At the core of the brief is the argument that metadata matters.

Intelligence officials have often downplayed privacy concerns over the NSA's interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act by stating that the agency does not collect the "content" of calls, but only the metadata - who a person called, when, how long the conversation lasted and other information.

EFF's brief begins with the line "It is not just metadata," and goes on to explain how metadata collected on a massive scale can often reveal more personal information about an individual than content. The brief outlines how metadata can show patterns of behavior, political and religious affiliations, and other personal details, especially when combined with other data sources.

"The metadata the government collects isn't just a list of numbers dialed and times - it's a window into the lives of millions of Americans," EFF staff attorney Mark Rumold said.

"The law should provide the highest level of protection for this kind of information. The technology experts who signed the brief provide a valuable perspective for the court to consider."

The ACLU filed its lawsuit against the Director of National Intelligence, the NSA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice and the FBI last year after former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden revealed a secret legal order allowing for the indiscriminate capture of call metadata from Verizon Business Services.

EFF represents 17 professors who signed onto the brief, including: Profs. Harold Abelson and Ron Rivest of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Prof. Andrew Appel, chair of Princeton University's computer science department; Prof. Steven Bellovin of Columbia University's computer science department; and Matthew Blaze, an associate professor in the University of Pennsylvania's Computer and Information Science Department. Other experts signed on to the brief come from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan, Rice University and Purdue.

"Metadata equals surveillance," said security expert and EFF board member Bruce Schneier, another signer of the brief. "It's who we talk to, what we read, and where we go. When the president says 'don't worry, it's only metadata,' what he's really saying is that you're all under surveillance."

While EFF is acting as amicus in this case, it also has two ongoing lawsuits of its own that challenge NSA surveillance. In First Unitarian v. NSA, EFF represents 22 groups whose First Amendment rights to association are violated by the NSA program. Jewel v. NSA is a case on behalf of AT&T customers who were subject to the unconstitutional NSA spying.

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See also:

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Previously:
* Dear Supreme Court: Set Limits On Cell Phone Searches.

* EFF Fights National Security Letter Demands On Behalf Of Telecom, Internet Company.

* Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

* Jon Stewart: The Old Hope-A-Dope.

* Four Blatantly False Claims Obama Has Made About NSA Surveillance.

* EFF To DOJ In Lawsuit: Stop Pretending Information Revealed About NSA Over Last Seven Months Is Still A Secret.

* Judge On NSA Case Cites 9/11 Report, But It Doesn't Actually Support His Ruling.

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

* Filed: 22 Firsthand Accounts Of How NSA Surveillance Chilled The Right To Association.

* Claim On 'Attacks Thwarted' By NSA Spreads Despite Lack Of Evidence.

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

* Government Standards Agency: Don't Follow Our Encryption Guidelines Because NSA.

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

* NSA Briefing: It Just Got Worse (Again).

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

* It Not Only Can Happen Here, It Is Happening Here.

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

* America's Lying About Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Obama Continues To Lie His Ass Off About The NSA.

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Has The U.S. Government Lied About Its Snooping? Let's Go To The Videotape.

* Who Are We At War With? That's Classified.

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

* NSA Says It Can't Search Its Own E-Mails.

* Does The NSA Tap That?

* Obama Explains The Difference Between His Spying And Bush's Spying.

* FAQ: What You Need To Know About The NSA's Surveillance Programs.

* NSA: Responding To This FOIA Would Help "Our Adversaries".

* Fact-Check: The NSA And 9/11.

* The NSA's Black Hole: 5 Things We Still Don't Know About The Agency's Snooping.

* Defenders Of NSA Surveillance Citing Chicago Case Omit Most Of Mumbai Plotter's Story.

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

* ProPublica's Guide To The Best Stories On The Growing Surveillance State.

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See also:
* Jimmy Carter: America's Shameful Human Rights Record.

* James Goodale: Only Nixon Harmed A Free Press More.

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

* Paul Steiger: Why Reporters In The U.S. Now Need Protection.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:50 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Barrington's Young Adult Phenom

"[Veronica Roth] penned her first bestselling novel Divergent while a senior at Northwestern University. It's now premiering as an anticipated blockbuster of a film series, and she's only 25."


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From her Wikipedia entry:

"Roth was born in New York and was raised primarily in Barrington, Illinois. Her mother, Barbara Ross, is a painter who resides in Barrington. She is the youngest of three children. Her parents divorced when she was five years old, and her mother has since remarried to Frank Ross, a financial consultant for landscape companies. Her brother and sister live in the Chicago area.

"Her maternal grandparents were concentration camp survivors, whose religious convictions pushed mother Barbara Ross away from religion. Veronica Roth learned about the Christian religion by attending a Christian Bible study during her high school years, and has stayed with it.

"Roth graduated from Barrington High School. After attending a year of college at Carleton College, she transferred to Northwestern University for its creative writing program. She is married to photographer Nelson Fitch. They reside in the Chicago area."

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Borelli/Trib: Veronica Roth: The Next Young Adult Superstar?

Killer Whale Fail
"A Chicago high school student whose commentary on killer whales was cribbed by state Sen. Greg Ball's office in a piece of legislation will be coming to Albany for May 28's Animal Awareness Day," the Times Union in New York reports.

"The Times Union reported last month that Ball's bill, which would outlaw the use of captive killer whales in sea parks in the state, included a 'bill memo' that borrowed text from two sources: Donald Rapier's commentary on the topic, which ran on the Huffington Post, and a Los Angeles Times interview with the director of Blackfish, a documentary about a SeaWorld Orlando killer whale that killed one of its trainers.

Rapier is a junior at Lindblom Math and Science Academy.

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See also by Rapier: My Unfair Sense Of Academic Superiority.

Reel Artists
"Reel Art Collectibles, Chicagoland's premier pop culture collectible store, and Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), are hosting an in-store appearance by some of Chicago's internationally renown illustrators at Reel Art Collectibles in Berwyn," a press release says.

"The artists will be at the store from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 22nd. All will have posters and examples of their work to buy and sign. They will be available to meet fans and available to sign books, comics, prints, posters and more.

LIST OF ATTENDING ARTISTS:

Gary Gianni - Gianni's artwork has appeared in numerous magazines, children's books, comic books and paperbacks. In 1997 he won The Eisner Award for Best Short Story, Heroes, in Batman: Black And White, for DC Comics. In 2004, he became the artist on the internationally syndicated comic strip Prince Valiant. 2013 saw the release of George R.R. Martin's Songs of Ice and Fire Calendar 2014 (The book series that is the source of the HBO series Game of Thrones.)

Scott Gustafson - Over the nearly25 years that span his career, Gustafson has worked for many publishers including Celestial Seasonings, Playboy magazine, the Saturday Evening Post, The Bradford Exchange, Dreamworks and more. His book Classic Fairy Tales was awarded a Chesley award for best interior book illustrations from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.

Randy Broecker - Broecker's acclaimed artwork has appeared in books published by many fantasy publishers. He is the author/compiler of the World Fantasy Award-nominated Fantasy of the 20th Century: An Illustrated History and co-author of Art of the Imagination: 20th Century Visions of Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy.

Hilary Barta - Barta has had a long comics career with more than 240 credits working as an inker at Marvel and DC Comics, as well as being a respected penciler and writer for a 1990s version of Plastic Man. He currently draws stories for Simpsons and SpongeBob Comics.

Doug Klauba - Klauba is an award-winning illustrator, noted for his new pulp cover art. His work is recognized for his dramatic use of lighting in a heroic-deco style influenced by pulp magazine art and retro movie poster illustration. Many have been included in the art annuals of Spectrum, the Society of Illustrators, and ImagineFX magazine.

Alex Wald - Wald is an artist whose resume includes an Eisner nomination for coloring Shaolin Cowboy, comic art for Harvey Pekar's American Splendor and DC Comics' "Big Book" series, English adaptations for Lone Wolf & Cub and Animaze Inc., color art for numerous publishers. He currently is art director for 1First Comics in Northbrook, Illinois.

Aaron Miller - Miller specializes in fantasy and science fiction art, and has done work for Wizards of the Coast, Fantasy Flight Games, and ImagineFX Magazine.

Rafael Nieves - Nieves began writing comics in 1987. His work for the Marvel comic book Bloodlines was nominated for two Eisner awards in 1993. Since then, he's written a number of titles, including Hellstorm, Prince of Lies, The Phantom; Haunting Tales of Horrorbles and Bob Howard, Plumber of the Unknown, coming out this April from 1First Comics.

"Free tickets to C2E2 and all kinds of Free Stuff will be raffled."

Sully & J.W.
"Chicago poets Dan 'Sully' Sullivan and J.W. Basilo will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, in a Society of Midland Authors event at the Cliff Dwellers Club," the society says.

"A social hour with free appetizers and a cash bar begins at 6 p.m. No reservations are required for this free public event, held in celebration of National Poetry Month.

"Sullivan has appeared on HBO's Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, on National Public Radio and at the Green Mill Uptown Poetry Slam. He was the Chicago Mental Graffiti Poetry Slam Champion for 2003, 2004 and 2005, and a recipient of the 2003 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Poetry Award.

"Sully is a member of the Speak'Easy Ensemble directed by Marc "So What!" Smith and makes up one half of the duo Death From Below. He is co-founder and sponsor of the Oak Park and River Forest High School's Spoken Word Club. He recently released a poetry album and chapbook Because We Can't Fight the Bulldozer Alone.

"Basilo is a writer, performer, humorist, musician and educator from Chicago whose work is equal parts poignant and perverse, hilarious and heart-wrenching.

"Basilo is a National and World Poetry Slam finalist, a PushCart Prize Nominee, one half of poetry-comedy duo Beard Fight (with Dan Sully), and an artist-in-residence at Real Talk Avenue.

"His work has appeared on NPR, CBS, WGN, in the Chicago Tribune, numerous literary journals and hundreds of theaters, dive bars, prisons, schools and comedy clubs.

"Basilo was recently named executive director of Chicago Slam Works, and is the co-host of the world-famous Uptown Poetry Slam at The Green Mill."

Sandburg Saturday
"Carl Sandburg's publication of 'Chicago' in Poetry magazine celebrates its 100th anniversary this March, and to celebrate, we're welcoming library visitors to record the poem in our library's listening booths and share their recordings with our SoundCloud community. On Saturday, the Poetry Foundation Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m."

Mother Dunbar
"On Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at at 3 p.m., a staged production of At Mother Dunbar's Request, written by Paxton Williams, will feature over 30 Paul Laurence Dunbar poems as well as a number of Negro spirituals and works by Stephen Foster, Will Marion Cook, Frederic Chopin, Sir Edward Elgar and Robert Burns," the Poetry Foundation says.

"This production shines a light on Dunbar's humor, wit, and appreciation for the time in which he lived, and shows how relevant his works can be today, addressing as he did topics such as race relations, the criminal justice system, creativity and imagination, love, nature and religion.

Science At Schubas
"What if a microscope was a video camera? What would be the love stories, the dramas, the daily routines of the unseen?

"The Guild Literary Complex invites audiences to find out during Applied Words: Unseen Worlds on Wednesday, March 26, 7:30 p.m. at Schubas Tavern.

"Curator Stephanie Levi brings together four scientist-writers whose work delves into tiny universes: Jotham Austin II, Paul Gorski, Vojislav Pejovic, and Anne Yoder. This event is the second of a two-part Applied Words series that focuses on the intersections of technology, science, and literature.

"I am delighted to be curating this month's Applied Words series," states Levi, a cellular and molecular biologist, and founder of Science is Sexy. "The theme of Unseen Worlds stemmed from my experience as a microscopist. I was captivated by the images I saw, as well as the idea that there were worlds beyond what our naked eye is capable of visualizing. I've often thought about the secret lives of the objects and living things at the microscopic level."

"Unseen Worlds will include a microscopy station where the audience can have a look into the microbial wilderness. The event is free, and open to all audiences ages 21 and older."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:41 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs

Cut rate in Wicker Park.

barrysdrugs3girlsautex.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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Purchase on Etsy!

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:28 AM | Permalink

March 13, 2014

The [Thursday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel is counting on speed cameras installed around Chicago schools and parks to bankroll $70 million worth of children's programs this year," Fran Spielman "reports" for the Sun-Times.

I guess she doesn't read the Tribune.

Obama-Go-Go
"With less than a month remaining before a March 31 deadline, about 4.2 million Americans have signed up for insurance policies offered under President Barack Obama's health care law, including nearly 114,000 in Illinois, according to federal data released Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

"The enrollment figures show that the pace of new sign-ups in Illinois slowed in February, suggesting that the state will fall far short of its 2014 enrollment goal of 300,000. To reach that number, more than twice as many people need to sign up for plans in March than in the previous five months combined."

In related news, Obama will appear on Chic-a-Go-Go next week.

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See also: Obama's Main Claim Rated False (Again).

Illinois Dixiecrats
"A spokesman for Toni Berrios said last week she won't give any more interviews before the election because she was 'pretty shaken' when a man allegedly harassed her as she campaigned on March 1," the Sun-Times reports.

With all due sensitivity to alleged harassment . . . What? How does this make sense? I was harassed while campaigning, therefore I will not speak to reporters?

It gets worse - much, much worse.

"While the incumbent took a vow of silence, other powerful figures made themselves heard for her.

"This week, voters in the district received the latest in a series of ads alleging that Guzzardi favors going easy on sex offenders.

"The new mailer adds an odd racial twist to this line of attack. It features a photo of a young white woman with manly hands clasping her bare shoulders [link mine]. You can't see the face of the person whose hands they are, but they're obviously not the hands of a white person.

"'Will Guzzardi can't think of a reason to monitor sexual predators . . . but she can,' the ad reads.

"The mail piece was paid for by Democratic Majority, a Madigan-led political fund. Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said Tuesday he had not seen the ad and declined my offer to e-mail a copy to him, saying only that Guzzardi has 'a big problem explaining his position' on whether sex offenders should be required to register."

For godsakes, don't e-mail me that ad!

Brown works for the chairman of the state Democratic Party. Don't we have child labor laws in this country?

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I just e-mailed the ad to Brown and the Party. I goofed, though; I should have put "Re: Where To Make The Drop" in the subject line to ensure it got opened.

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"The attacks are based on an article that Guzzardi wrote for his college newspaper in 2006. He says the comment was taken out of context, doesn't reflect his campaign's stance and is an attempt by the incumbent to play off voter fears."

Rich Miller noted on Capitol Fax blog that Guzzardi links to the column on his campaign website.

That link is no longer operational, which is a mistake on Guzzardi's part (and on the part of The Brown Daily Herald) if he got it taken down. It's dishonest, unethical and makes it look like he's got something to hide - giving veracity to Berrios's heinous claim.

Besides, there's always the cached version.

The column wasn't about sex offenders; they are only mentioned in the one sentence you see. The column was about continuing to punish those convicted of crimes - including petty misdemeanors - long after they have paid their debt to society.

Maybe I should send it to Brown - he probably hasn't read it.

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"The same political fund paid a Madigan aide, Mark Bretz, for helping Toni Berrios' campaign in 2012. Cook County records show Joe Berrios hired Bretz in September in the county assessor's office."

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"The most prolific donor to Berrios is the Illinois Democratic Party," Progress Illinois reports (while noting the use of another bogus mailer; click through).

"Other donors range from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce to Luis Gutierrez for Congress."

Do they endorse the Willie Horton-esque mailer? Let's ask everybody associated with the Berrios campaign.

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Back to the Sun-Times:

"Besides Madigan, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle endorses Toni Berrios for another term."

Does Preckwinkle also endorse the mailer? I'd be happy to send her a copy if she hasn't seen it.

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"Gov. Pat Quinn professes neutrality, but a high-ranking Quinn appointee, former 1st Ward Ald. Manny Flores, appears in Toni Berrios campaign literature, urging people to 'join me in voting' for her.

"It would be interesting to ask Flores how he plans to vote for Toni Berrios since he moved from the Northwest Side, to the northwest suburbs, after quitting the City Council and joining the Quinn administration. Flores has been registered to vote in Park Ridge, miles from the 39th Illinois House District, since 2012.

"Flores did not return calls seeking comment."

Flores, you might remember, was the hipster alderman who preceded Joe Moreno.

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Does Quinn endorse the mailer? Or is he neutral? Also, I can send him a copy if he hasn't seen it.

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Meawhile, Joe Berrios just told his 80 county committeemen that "Old-time, machine-style dirty tricks have no place in modern campaigns."

So funny.

From the Tribune in 2010:

"Many candidates stretch the truth in those campaign mailers now clogging your mailbox.

"There are candidates who climb still higher on the rickety ladder of falsehoods - to fable, to fiction, even to pure fantasy. Then there's Joe Berrios . . . "

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Rahm Repudiated By His Kids' Teachers
I can send him a copy of this statement if he hasn't seen it.

Why Josh McCown Chose The Bucs
Another Beachwood Exclusive!

Oreos and Orgasms
In our Random Food Report.

Dear Supreme Court
Please Set Limits On Cell Phone Searches.

Dear Congress
Please End The Illegal TV Station Ownership Of Companies Such As Tribune.

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BeachBook
* Number Of Illinois School Districts In Financial Distress Doubles.

* Drug Company Agrees To Pay $27.6 Million To Settle Allegations Involving Chicago Psychiatrist.

* Watch An Expert Teach A Smug U.S. Senator About Canadian Health Care.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Wish it, plan it, do it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:21 AM | Permalink

Random Food Report: All About Oreos

"Mimicry is an art from in processed foods, and the makers of Oreo cookies have outdone themselves with their latest attempt to jazz up their icon: the Cookie Dough Oreo," the New York Times reports.

"The fun in dissecting this marvel of food engineering begins right on the front of the package, which sports pictures of real-looking cookie dough and chocolate chips, though neither is found inside.

"Instead, this newest version of the Oreo draws on a mix of extra sugar, precision chemistry and a marketing maneuver that industry insiders call 'permission' to evoke the mere impression of cookie dough."

Permission not granted; we want the real thing.

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The video:

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See also: 2 Convicted Of Selling Oreo Trade Secrets To China.

Brat Pack
"Johnsonville said Wednesday that it has opened an innovation center in Chicago," the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

"The facility will focus on the research and development of new products."

Like an Oreo brat?

Frankly Speaking
"The Ball Park brand has launched a new premium hot dog and has teamed with celebrity chef Rachael Ray to promote the product," Meat & Poultry reports.

Okay, that's two strikes.

Requiem For Sprinkle Spangles
10 Cereals That Were Too Sweet To Last.

Making Sense Of McDonald's
"The warm scent of freshly baked Petite Pastries is now wafting through San Diego County McDonald's restaurants," McDonald's says.

Can a scent be warm?

Snickerdoodle
Pop it, top it.

Katz Nip
"The owners of New York City's iconic Katz's Delicatessen filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the operators of local food trucks named Katz & Dogz, claiming the trucks are a blatant attempt to dupe consumers," Reuters reports.

"Customers are likely to assume that the trucks, which sell the same Jewish-style fare, and the famed deli are somehow affiliated, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan."

That sounds like a stretch.

"Katz & Dogz also sells a 'Reuben Orgasm,' which the lawsuit says could be a reference to a famous scene in the popular 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally that was shot at Katz's."

Oh.

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Hamburg's Chicago Meatpackers

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:39 AM | Permalink

Dear Supreme Court: Set Limits On Cell Phone Searches

The Electronic Frontier Foundation asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to set limits on warrantless searches of cell phones, arguing in two cases before the court that changing technology demands new guidelines for when the data on someone's phone can be accessed and reviewed by investigators.

The amicus briefs were filed in Riley v. California and U.S. v. Wurie. In both cases, after arresting a suspect, law enforcement officers searched the arrestee's cell phone without obtaining a warrant from a judge. Historically, police have been allowed some searches "incident to arrest" in order to protect officers' safety and to preserve evidence. However, in the briefs filed Monday, EFF argues that once a cell phone has been seized, the police should be required to get a search warrant to look through the data on the phone.

"Allowing investigators to search a phone at this point - after the device has been secured by law enforcement but before going to a judge and showing probable cause - is leaving 21st Century technology outside the protections of the Fourth Amendment," said EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury. "If we're going to truly have privacy in the digital age, we need clear, common-sense guidelines for searches of digital devices, with meaningful court oversight of when and how these searches can be conducted."

In the not-so-distant past, our pockets and purses carried only limited information about our lives. But in the age of the smartphone, we are walking around with a complete, detailed history of our work schedules, our medical concerns, our political beliefs, and our financial situations. Our phones include pictures of family gatherings, videos of friends, apps that help manage our health and our money, and email and text messages from both our personal and professional lives.

"Our phones include an extraordinary amount of sensitive information - our past, our present, our plans for the future," said Fakhoury. "We can't let investigators rummage through this data on a whim. It's time for the Supreme Court to recognize the important role that judicial oversight must play in searches of cell phones incident to arrest."

The brief was filed in conjunction with the Center for Democracy and Technology. The brief was authored with the assistance of Andrew Pincus of Mayer Brown LLP and the Yale Law School Supreme Court Clinic.

* The brief.

* More on search incident to arrest.

* Supreme Court cases on cell phone searches

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:47 AM | Permalink

Dear Congress: End Illegal TV Station Ownership

In testimony before Congress on Wednesday, Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood spoke out against a House bill that would strip the Federal Communications Commission of its ability to crack down against serious and ongoing violations of its local television-station multiple ownership rule.

These violations take the form of illegal outsourcing agreements in dozens of U.S. broadcast markets, where one conglomerate creates shell companies to dodge station-ownership rules. For viewers this often results in a single team producing news and information for multiple stations.

"These violations harm competing businesses and diminish the number of competing viewpoints on our nation's airwaves," Wood wrote in his submitted testimony.

"They cause job losses, as broadcasters outsource the news and consolidate newsrooms. And they diminish the number of competing local newscasts, because stations subject to outsourcing agreements and de facto control by another broadcaster simply do not gather or air their own news."

Wood testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology in a hearing on the "Reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act." Several draft sections of the Act are designed to limit the FCC's ability to promote competition and diversity in local broadcast markets, both primary mandates of the agency.

To illustrate the threat outsourcing agreements pose, Free Press released on Wednesday an updated version of its report Cease to Resist: How the FCC's Failure to Enforce Its Rules Created a New Wave of Media Consolidation. The study examines the current wave of consolidation sweeping across the broadcast industry.

The report documents the increased use of outsourcing agreements by Gannett Company, Nexstar Broadcast Group, Raycom Media, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune Company and other broadcasters. Through these deals, station owners create so-called "sidecar" or shell companies to evade the FCC's rules and establish near-monopolies over local TV news production in markets across the country.

These arrangements do not simply concern two stations sharing some common functions. Rather, they involve one large broadcaster owning all of the physical assets of another in-market station. The broadcaster runs all of that station's day-to-day operations, produces 100 percent of the local news programming and keeps most of the station's profits.

These agreements are used to evade the FCC's ownership rules in nearly half of all U.S. media markets. They are used to form otherwise illegal duopolies between two top-four ranked stations in 78 markets. This rule is particularly important for ensuring communities have access to the greatest number of independent sources of news and information, which are often produced by the major network-affiliated stations.

"We are in the midst of an explosion in the use of outsourcing agreements, which is fueling the current historic wave of consolidation," says Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner, who authored the report. "Before the FCC turned a blind eye to these evasions, small broadcasters and new entrants actually had a chance to participate in this industry, particularly in the medium- and smaller-sized markets. But now that companies like Sinclair and Nexstar are using these evasion tactics to gobble up stations, the opportunities for other competitors are virtually non-existent."

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Wood's testimony:

"Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Eshoo and members of the Subcommittee: Thank you for inviting me to testify today.

"My name is Matt Wood. I'm policy director for Free Press, a nonpartisan organization with more than 700,000 members across the country.

"Free Press works for policies that promote competing sources of news and journalism, because they're so important for informing our nation's democracy and powering our economy.

"Unfortunately, the Discussion Draft could contribute to the ongoing loss of such competition. My testimony focuses on Section 4 of that draft, which would keep the FCC from addressing undue media concentration and removing entry barriers for new broadcast businesses.

I" will also talk briefly about Section 6, which would keep the agency from following Congress' direction to increase the choices that people have for set-top boxes and other video devices.

"Our media should reflect the full range of experiences and ideas this country has to offer.

"It's essential to see different viewpoints and hear different voices on the dial, even if they don't always agree - or rather, because they don't agree. Robust debate and in-depth coverage keep our republic strong and free.

"This applies at the national level and at the local level too, where broadcasting remains a vital source of information about our government and our culture.

"Television remains the dominant way that Americans get news. Seven in ten people in the U.S. watch local TV news - almost double the number who watch cable news or get news online. But what kind of news are they getting?

"The answer for too many Americans is that they get two or more local newscasts produced by the same company.

"Sometimes this outsourced news comes from separate news teams. More often, stations have the same reporters, air the same stories, or use the same scripts on two or more channels.

"In either case, it's the same owner calling the shots.

"Some broadcasters say this type of "sharing" keeps multiple newscasts on the air. They claim, oddly enough, that the only way to have competing news is for stations to stop competing.

"Let's be clear: When you hear about 'synergies' that make news more attractive to produce, there are just two ways to save money: cutting overhead and cutting jobs.

"So one person's 'efficiency' is another's unemployment. And that's a hardship that affects us all when the people losing their jobs are journalists we depend on to dig into the facts.

"Slashing newsroom jobs can happen slowly, as a broadcaster like Sinclair reduced its average number of employees by more than 20 percent, from 55 per station in 2001 to just 43 today.

"Or it can be tonight's top story. In late 2010, the anchor at KMSB in Tucson took to the air and reported the layoffs that hit him and 50 of his colleagues.

"What makes it worse is this runaway consolidation happened right in front of the FCC for years, clearly violating its ownership limits.

"Section 4 of the draft refers to the 'local television multiple ownership rule,' which permits direct or indirect control of more than one station per market only under certain circumstances.

"Yet in more than 100 markets - almost half of the TV markets in the whole country - broadcasters use outsourcing arrangements to violate the letter and the spirit of this FCC safeguard.

"They do this with Joint Sales Agreements (or 'JSAs'), Shared Services Agreements, and a litany of others. Combined, these management agreements transfer control - and the bulk of the affected station's revenues - away from the supposed licensee.

"These outsourcing deals often prop up shell companies that take away opportunities for competing businesses. As a rule, the FCC shouldn't stand for them.

"Last month, the Department of Justice told the FCC that such covert consolidation can harm competition.

"Last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called for a vote to treat JSAs above a certain threshold as what they are: signs of ownership by the broadcasters who really run these stations.

"That would align the FCC with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which doesn't fall for the fiction that these are independent owners. Investors get the truth, and operating stations must treat their so-called 'sidecar' companies as subsidiaries.

"Even that nickname - 'sidecar' company - shows how much they're driven by conglomerates like Gannett, Nexstar, Raycom, Sinclair, and Tribune.

"Section 4 could keep the FCC from moving ahead with its plans to clean up this practice and prevent unlawful transfers of control.

"Section 6 also could reduce choices for viewers. As Mr. Zinn explained, the integration ban promotes competition for set-top boxes, which incumbents now charge you up to 20 dollars a month to rent.

"Cable customers should be free to take that offer; but they should have options too. And they shouldn't believe cable claims that blocking innovation by others is itself a form of innovation.

"Thank you very much, and I look forward to your questions."

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Here's the full committee report and video:

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Previously by Free Press:
* Obama's Comcast.

* FCC Looks The Other Way As A New Wave Of Consolidation Devours Local TV Stations.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:20 AM | Permalink

March 12, 2014

Exclusive! Why Josh McCown Choose The Bucs Over The Bears

In perhaps the city's biggest loss of an athlete since Mark DeRosa's painful departure, Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown has left in free agency to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gross.

While McCown is widely believed to have left Chicago for both more money and the chance to start, the Beachwood has learned that many other factors informed McCown's decision.

* Lovie Smith assured him Josh is our quarterback.

* Was always a huge Lee Roy Selmon fan.

* Tired of paying street tax for his Cuban cigars here.

* Doesn't like the way Rahm is privatizing Chicago's school system.

* Grossed out by Roberto Garza's butt.

* Bears wouldn't let him wear No. 54.

* No longer dating Jenny McCarthy.

* Wanted to leave on a high note.

* Was tired of being forced to room with Jeff Joniak on the road.

* A huge Joe Maddon fan.

* Prettier color scheme.

* Would rather swim with the manatees than run from the rats.

* Dibs finally got to him.

* They play way more Jimmy Buffett on the radio down there.

* Hopes to be teammates with Devin Hester again.

* Too upset with Chicagoland to stay.

* Always wanted to dress like a pirate.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

Was seeking a Mark DeRosa-type deal.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:52 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Some of the city's high schools are shrinking. In fact, some are shrinking so dramatically, it's questionable whether students are getting access to a basic education," Linda Lutton reports for WBEZ.

I'm going to excerpt at length, but go read and/or listen to the whole thing.

Take the Austin Business and Entrepreneurship Academy on the city's West Side, where students have spent much of this year without key teachers.

If you ask seniors Kendale Brice and Janiqua Johnson to list the teachers they're missing at Austin Business, it sounds like they're reading from a job board:

"We need a music teacher," Kendale says.

"We need a Spanish teacher," Janiqua adds.

"Last year we didn't have a Spanish teacher, so we had to take Spanish online," Kendale says.

"We need a science teacher - which is biology and forensic science," says Janiqua. "We need an English teacher for juniors and seniors."

Keyshawn Fields, a junior slated to take the ACT exam next month, says he had a biology teacher "for maybe three weeks at the beginning of the year, then she was gone." Music and Spanish - requirements for graduation - are offered online only, students say.

"It's hard, because sometimes some students (are) physical learners - like, they need to be in person with a teacher, and that doesn't help being online," says senior Moeisha Webb, who's in the online music class.

WBEZ interviewed a dozen students at Austin Business and Entrepreneurship Academy, and all of them told the same story. Their core courses in English and science have been taught mostly by substitutes this year - sometimes a different substitute every day - meaning no homework, and often no classwork. One student said students are passed automatically since there are no teachers.

The root of the problem seems to be low enrollment.

And here's where the mayor comes in:

A West Side charter high school, Chicago Talent Development, announced this year it is phasing out, unable to attract enough students. Other schools with low enrollments are skimping on teachers, activities and electives.

And even new schools like Austin Business - which was started as a Renaissance 2010 school after CPS closed down Austin High School in 2004 for poor performance - are challenged. All three schools that opened in the Austin High building under Renaissance 2010 are struggling to attract kids, and struggling to keep promises of a better education. One of the schools, Austin Polytechnical Academy, had to write a grant this year to be able to pay for a college counselor; per pupil funding from CPS did not cover the cost.

But ironically, Chicago is adding high schools. The district recently approved seven new charters - five of them with high school seats - meaning students will be spread even thinner across schools like Austin. The district has said it will not close any schools for five years.

A few things:

1. You'd think low enrollment would be a good thing - smaller classes! But instead of taking advantage of low enrollment, CPS turns the opportunity into a crisis by pulling resources from those schools.

2. At Robeson High School in Englewood, where I'm involved in the Urban Youth Journalism Program, the students tell me that low enrollment means they don't have many activities because there aren't enough kids to sign up for them. They're also painfully aware of lack of equitable resources. And they tell me it just doesn't feel like they're getting a "high school experience" because the low enrollment depletes the energy in the school.

3. Low enrollment in some neighborhoods, of course, is the consequence of the city losing 175,000 blacks in the last decade - in part due to the destruction of public housing, as well as the devastating impact of the Great Financial Scandal and the city's rising cost of living. Closing schools in black neighborhoods only empties out the neighborhoods more. (Many parents won't move to a neighborhood without a school.) You can't build neighborhoods up by tearing them down. Public policy has to be integrated - policies for schools, housing and economic development, for example, have to complement each other. Which in a sense they do now, but not to the good. This is why Chicago needs a neighborhood mayor, not a downtown mayor.

4. Closing neighborhood elementary schools and opening charter elementary schools isn't going to help neighborhood high schools; charter schools are an entire system unto themselves, a privatized shadow district that seeks to retain students K-12.

5. When kids don't attend neighborhood schools, they don't acquire the same sense of community they would otherwise; charter schools represent an "every person for themselves" mentality disconnected from geography. This disembowels public institutions and promotes a dangerous kind of libertarianism that tears the social fabric because it separates people from each other - even those living on the same block. And elites separate themselves the fastest, like the best and the brightest attending Ivy League schools instead of their state institutions. Pretty soon elites don't want to pay taxes so other people can ride the CTA. And most importantly, public education continues to get defunded - and the vicious cycle becomes ever more vicious.

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Asking Axelrod
Bullshit and buttons.

Rethinking Chicago's Kickstarter Book Burner
A different kind of fail.

Lydia Loveless Loves Liver
And: Lupe's Leadership & Bizarro Bloodshot. In Local Music Notebook.

The Fantasy Fix Top 50
Can you spot the lone Chicago player?

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BeachBook
* Tenants To Protest Low-Income Housing Conditions Of Mayor's Pal.

* Huge FOIA Win Against CPD.

* Deployed Illinois Soldiers Receive Combat Patch.

* 30th Anniversary Meeting Of The International Titanium Association.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Jump the snark.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:40 AM | Permalink

Asking Axelrod

In preparation for a Sun-Times event with David Axelrod, the paper's political reporter, Natasha Korecki, put out a call over Twitter for questions readers would like to see asked.

I responded. In vain, predictably.

Here's the Sun-Times's own write-up of the content-free night of gladhanding. Buttons and bullshit.

Now, here are the questions I suggested:

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To those, I would add:

You've said going around the media to get your message out through unquestioning small-town reporters, talk show hosts, and social channels is "smart." Are you saying that propaganda is more important than journalism?

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The president gives more interviews to comedians than to serious reporters. Does that serve democracy best?

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How is it that Barack Obama promised the most transparent administration ever, yet journalists feel under siege like never before?

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Do you believe that journalists who publish material gained from whistleblowers should be imprisoned?

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Do you believe James Risen should be imprisoned?

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If you were contacted by Edward Snowden when you were a reporter, what would you have done?

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How did you square representing Richard M. Daley, whose City Hall was drenched in corruption, with representing Barack Obama, who vowed to change the very kind of politics Daley practiced?

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How was it that you fashioned a reformer image for Barack Obama even as he endorsed the Machine candidate over the reform candidate every single time?

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How can you be proud both of the job Daley did as mayor and the job Rahm Emanuel is doing as mayor when Rahm Emanuel keeps saying the old way was wrong?

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But I suppose you can't ask questions like that (journalism questions) when you are in a business partnership with the news subject (in an "exclusive" interview despite the man's media ubiquity) - and you hope to be again, with him and others like him.

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Note: Yes, the event was billed as a discussion about "youth in politics," but the questioning ranged, according to the Sun-Times's own account, from how Rahm Emanuel will face down challengers in the next election to how Dan Rutherford handled sexual harassment allegations against him to how Pat Quinn will fight off Bruce Rauner.

It would have been far more interesting to bill the night as an intimate conversation with David Axelrod in which the Sun-Times asks all the questions he's never been asked before, instead of a bullshit "youth in politics" frame. You could have certainly charged more.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:57 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Baseball Draft Guide Part 6 - The Top 50

In previous chapters of my 2014 fantasy baseball draft guide, I've been ranking players by position. This week, I put all the puzzle pieces together in what amounts to the first five draft rounds for a 10-team league.

You'll notice a couple of differences from my position rankings. For example, on the strength of a good spring, I've bumped Ryan Braun ahead of three guys I originally had him behind. I'm not going to go back and revise my position rankings from previous weeks, so time to get your red pencil out and make the changes yourself, since I will assume by now you have printed out the rest of draft guide, blown it up 200%, and have it covering the walls of your man cave as you prepare for your league draft.

The Fantasy Fix Top 50, round by round:

Round 1

1. Mike Trout, OF, LAA: In terms of broad fantasy value, there is no one close, not even Miggy.

2. Miguel Cabrera, 3B, DET: Could earn another Triple Crown - and another, and another.

3. Andrew McCutchen, OF, PIT: Having a great spring. Put money on him to win the NL batting title.

4. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, ARI: He's starting to looking like a mini-Miggy.

5. Carlos Gonzalez, OF, COL: Almost Trout-like production if he can ever stay healthy a full season.

6. Clayton Kershaw, SP, LAD: A lackluster spring, but he's the best SP on possibly the best team.

7. Hanley Ramirez, SS, LAD: In line for a career year, and his bat may help Kershaw to 20+ wins.

8. Chris Davis, 1B, BAL: If Miggy doesn't win another Triple Crown, his HR production is the reason.

9. Robinson Cano, 2B, SEA: Picking at the end, go with the best man at the thinnest position.

10. Ryan Braun, OF, MIL: Looks so lively this spring, I upgraded him just this week to my No. 4 OF.

Round 2

11. Adrian Beltre, 3B, TEX: Fielder in the lineup could mean either career-high RBIs or runs.

12. Bryce Harper, OF, WAS: Past hype has dissipated, and I think his power stats will blossom.

13. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, NYY: The short porch in Yankee Stadium must have him salivating.

14. Adam Jones, BAL: I'll shortly stop using the tag "mini-Miggy," but he's another one.

15. Carlos Gomez, OF, MIL: A few more HRs, and we'll be calling him Trout-like.

16. Yu Darvish, SP, TEX: A long wait for the second SP; don't be surprised if he goes earlier.

17. Prince Fielder, 1B, TEX: Another change from position rankings. Losing some pounds will help.

18. Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL: It's not that he's falling, it's that weight loss is helping Prince rise.

19. Joey Votto, 1B, CIN: I know no one agrees having Freeman ahead of him, but it's this close.

20. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, TOR: Okay, end of the second-round run on 1Bs.

Round 3

21. Adam Wainwright, SP, STL: He's the NL Cy Young this year if Kershaw shows any weakness.

22. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, COL: I like the next three guys better, but I think he gets picked here.

23. David Wright, 3B, NYM: Wouldn't be surprised if he quietly achieves a career year.

24. Jason Kipnis, 2B, CLE: If your league drafts purely on hype, he's already gone by this point.

25. Evan Longoria, 3B, TAM: More than ever, he's the key to the Rays' offense.

26. Jordan Zimmermann, SP, WAS: People are starting to realize he won 19 games last year.

27. Yasiel Puig, OF, LAD: Huge potential, but enough concern to scare some away from picking him.

28. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, MIA: I think his big bat ends up in NY, BOS or DET by the trading deadline.

29, Felix Hernandez, SP, SEA: There's a chance he's finally looking at a 20-win season.

Round 4

30. Zack Greinke, SP, LAD: On most other teams he'd be the No. 1 starter.

31. Shin-Soo Choo, OF, TEX: Multi-category talent in a good lineup in a hitters park. Wow.

32. Jose Fernandez, SP, MIA: Great pitcher on a bad team. With LAD, he'd be five spots higher.

33. Cliff Lee, SP, PHI: Possibly the safest draft pick of all No. 1 starters. He's that reliable.

34. Max Scherzer, SP, DET: Looking sharp this spring. He'll be off the board sooner in some leagues.

35. Chris Sale, SP, WHITE SOX: Sox probably aren't good enough to win him 20, but he's that good.

36. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS: Not really comfortable with this spot, but probably the latest he'll go.

37. Jean Segura, SS, MIL: A guy with 50 SB potential available in Round 4? Count me in.

38. Ian Desmond, SS, WAS: Take him ahead of Segura if you want power stats more than SBs.

39. Stephen Strasburg, SP, WAS: He's top 15 in some leagues. I want to see him reach 200 IP first.

Round 5

40. Justin Upton, OF, ATL: The definition of streaky, but still an HR title candidate.

41. Jose Bautista, OF, TOR: I think he's got one more 35 HR year left in him. Is this it?

42. Justin Verlander, SP, DET: Looked great in first spring start this week, and may not miss time.

43. Alex Rios, OF, TEX: Multi-category threat at a fair bargain if this is one of his "on" years.

44. Allen Craig, 1B, STL: I think he's really a top 40 player, but can't figure out yet who isn't.

45. Jose Reyes, SS, TOR: Could be a steal this late if he's healthy, but that's a big if.

46. Buster Posey, C/1B, SF: Making an exception to my rule of no catchers or closer in the top 50.

47. Albert Pujols, 1B, LAA: History is the only thing keeping him top 50, but could make a comeback.

48. Anibal Sanchez, SP, DET: Overshadowed by Scherzer, but perhaps a dark horse for Cy Young?

49. Matt Holliday, OF, STL: No more consistent OF numbers-wise if you let the star Os pass by.

Just missed: Craig Kimbrel, RP, ATL: The top closer could go earlier in many leagues, but I would never draft a closer before Round 6.

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Previously in the Draft Guide:
* The Pitchers & Catchers Report Report.

* The 1B Logjam & 2B Drought.

* 3B & SS And The Last Of The Sure Thing.

* The Big Fish.

* Closing Time.

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Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:24 AM | Permalink

Rethinking Chicago's Kickstarter Book Burner

"A 30-year-old webcomics artist who raised more than $50,000 on Kickstarter has burned the books his donors paid for because, he says, he ran out of money to ship them," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

"In late February, John Campbell, who lives in Wicker Park, told his fans on the online crowdsourcing platform that 'It's Over' and published a video of himself burning 127 copies of his book, Sad Pictures for Children."

What a dick.

But wait.

This opening to his explanatory essay kicks ass.

AFFLUENT PEOPLE: PLEASE DEFEND YOUR DESIRE FOR AFFLUENCE AND PARTICIPATION IN CAPITALISM

Not to me personally, in public. Please choose from one of the following titles for your publicly posted essay:

I work hard and I get to live in a nice house. Other people work hard and do not get to live in a nice house. I like this and I want this to continue.

The problems in the world sure are going to take a long time to fix for whoever's in charge of fixing them to fix! Who wants to play an hilarious card game. Have you written a blog for your pet? Let's discuss cartoons I deserve to live in Brooklyn everything's fine everything's fine everything's fine

Listen up: let's fix these problems, so long as we don't have to modify our behavior or attitudes in any way. We could stop wars and change our relationship with the environment and all that but let's be honest with ourselves here: no we can't

Hello drug dealer in prison, I bought this weed I'm smoking from you, and my friend over there just started selling weed legally. Try to make the best of your time in there okay.

Look: I'm not affluent yet, but this is fine, you know? I might be, what if I could be!

It does get sad after that, as Campbell rambles about his mental health and sexuality, but it puts the humanity in the artist on display, and if it doesn't cause a re-think of your original reaction, illuminates a lack of humanity in yourself.

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That said, he raised $50,000, not, say, $5,000.

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On the other hand, maybe this is somehow the right outcome for everybody involved. Those who got their books now have collector items. Those who didn't are not - individually - out a lot of money. And perhaps Campbell has a little more peace of mind now. Maybe that's what some donors contributed to - it's worth more than a comic book.

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Meanwhile, fellow comics author Paul Jenkins is passing it sideways, if you will:

"While I understand what John did was wrong, I don't think he deserves animosity. I feel he deserves compassion and understanding. In my opinion, the stress of doing Kickstarter got to him - he made a bad decision or two and it got worse. John has admitted issues with depression - I hardly think it's appropriate to attack a guy who is clearly showing signs of a breakdown . . .

"I've made sure with the good folks at Kickstarter that I am not violating any terms or conditions, so here's an official announcement: if you know anyone who pledged for Sad Pictures For Children and received nothing, please do me and them a favor and ask them to email me at ramosandjenkins@gmail.com. I am going to make sure that we send them a free PDF of Fairy Quest #1. I realize ours is a very different book but I believe this small gesture will help put a smile on their faces. Kickstarter is a great community, and as a creator who has seen and done it all it is very much a community I want to be a part of. Neighbors help each other."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:48 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Lupe's Leadership & Lydia Loveless Loves Liver

1. Fellow Fiasco.

"Two Chicagoans have been named to the 2014 class of the Henry Crown Fellowship program," Shia Kapos reports for Crain's.

"Andrew Hayek, president and CEO of Surgical Care Affiliates in Glencoe and Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, aka hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco, president and CEO of 1st & 15th Entertainment Group, are among the 21 fellows."

Lupe Fiasco, however, was not chosen for his music career.

"Mr. Fiasco recently helped launch Chicago-based Higi LLC, a consumer health care data site that includes social media and gaming. Mr. Fiasco was named to Crain's '40 under 40' list of achievers last year."

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Side note: I think "Mr. Fiasco" is his father.

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Lupe's advice on leadership: Don't be an asshole.

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2. Kids Interview Bands: Lydia Loveless

This took place last month at Big Fun (seem familiar?) in Columbus, Ohio.

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3. Bizarro Bloodshot.

Trademark infringement or little likelihood of confusion?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:14 AM | Permalink

March 11, 2014

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Earlier this year, New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman published The Loudest Voice in the Room, a strongly critical biography of Roger Ailes," Bob Somerby writes at his Daily Howler blog.

"In January, Sherman discussed the book with Jane Hall as part of C-Span's After Words series. We watched their discussion two weekends ago.

"Late in the hour, Sherman and Hall discussed the nature of propaganda, especially as practiced by Fox. Sherman's description was basic but interesting."

Click through for the passage, I'm going to jump ahead.

Sherman described a very basic type of "propaganda." In this model, simple-minded "story lines" are created, with recognizable "good guys" and "bad guys." These simple stories are repeated all through the day on Fox.

For what it's worth, there's nothing wrong with repeatedly covering a certain news topic throughout the day on a cable news channel. Sherman is describing something slightly different. He's describing a process we ourselves have long described, in which simple-minded stories are handed to the public, with basic facts perhaps giving way to the need for simplistic script.

Is this the way Fox News operates? This is the way the whole press corps operate[s].

When you work in a mainstream news organization, you are not allowed to deviate from the storyline - no matter what real reporting actually finds. When you are assigned a story, you are assigned a story. In other words, you are assigned to write an article in a certain way, with the conclusions predetermined. In other word, it's a story.

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"As we've often noted, facts play almost no role in our national discourse," Somerby writes in a separate post.

We'll give you four quick reasons:

The facts we hear are often wrong. Other key facts get disappeared.

When people in our tribe make up facts, we tend to applaud them for it. And in a highly tribalized culture, it's hard to convey basic facts across tribal lines, even if the facts in question are accurate and important.

This is absolutely true. The media is fed, say, an image of who Barack Obama or Rahm Emanuel is, and they repeat it endlessly until people actually believe it - just like corporations do with their products through advertising. Journalists who dare to offer contravening facts are dismissed, no matter how incontrovertible those facts are. Journalists who repeat the storyline are rewarded.

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What has Bruce Rauner been spending all that money on? An ad campaign creating an image of him that bears little resemblance to reality. But the ad campaign is far more pervasive than the slivers of actual reporting - and reporters themselves come to believe the ads too.

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"And now the mayor is Rahm Emanuel, who got my vote and will get my next vote for exactly the reason Kass suspects: because I think he's smart and tough enough to run a complicated and tribal city."

That Emanuel has been shown to lie with impunity is apparently not even a dealbreaker to a Chicago media critic.

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"We'll now offer a fifth, more specialized reason," Somerby continues.

"Some key facts about the looting of the middle class tend to get disappeared by corporate-paid liberals and by our upper-end news orgs."

For example, one of the greatest financial scandals in the history of the planet isn't named as such, but instead as the Great Recession, a blameless event caused simply by inevitable economic cycles. No one is to blame.

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On a smaller note:

"This is a yarn about how a single press release about pot misled dozens of major media outlets," Brian Stelter writes for CNN.

"The press release in question was published Monday on behalf of MarijuanaDoctors.com, a company that says it helps connect patients with doctors who prescribe medical marijuana.

"The release stated that MarijuanaDoctors.com was buying television ads through a division of Comcast. marking - its words here - 'the first time that any major U.S. network has ever allowed the advertising of a medical marijuana service.'

"Turns out that was a false claim - the ads never actually aired.

"But reporters for news organizations, including ABC News, Time magazine and the Chicago Tribune, all published stories as if the press release was fact. A CNN newscast included a mention of the alleged pot ads, too. Even NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams covered the story, despite the fact that NBC is owned by Comcast, which explicitly denies that the ads ever ran on any of its cable systems."

So funny; if you read A.J. Liebling's The Press, first published in 1961, you'll see example after example of this same sort of thing.

Which, by the way, is one reason why I believe in an undergraduate journalism education, which seems to be always under attack from . . . people who didn't go to journalism school? Or people who didn't go to a worthy journalism school? And by "worthy," I don't mean Northwestern.

In journalism school, at least when I attended at the University of Minnesota, we read the whole battery of works: The Press, The Boys On The Bus, I.F. Stone's Weekly, Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail . . . and I'm sure the curriculum has been updated since then - hopefully including On Bended Knee (Hertsgaard) Who Will Tell The People? (Greider), Read All About It (Squires) and, yes, the Daily Howler. The idea was to teach you not to do these things. My journalism education was reformist - not corporatist, like it is at some other places I know.

And the idea that a journalist instead should study economics or political science or history? Done, done and done. At least in my day, journalism schools had to require 75 percent of our courses to be outside our major to retain accreditation.

Inside our major, we learned media ethics, media law, media history . . . we learned how to think about our business. The school was trying to build a better journalist. We learned about political strategies used against journalists and techniques for covering public affairs and how to run investigations and the ins and outs of FOIA.

At the college paper, we put it all into practice - though the truth is that the college paper, The Minnesota Daily, was already light years ahead of the classroom. Still, it was a potent combination.

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"The other day, ESPN published a story, citing data from the ESPN Sports Poll Annual Report, claiming that Major League Soccer now 'equals MLB in popularity with kids,'" Deadspin reports.

"The story was quickly picked up by MLS, CBS, The Big Lead, the Orlando Sentinel, the Seattle Times, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, brandished as proof of baseball's terminal decline and soccer's rise to glory.

"There's only one problem: It's completely unclear what this study is actually measuring."

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"Thursday night at a University of Chicago panel with the mayors of New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta, Mayor Rahm Emanuel made the prediction that Chicago Public Schools are on track to have an 80 percent graduation rate in four years," Catalyst notes.

"An 80-percent graduation rate in Chicago public high schools would be a big improvement, but CPS cautions this would exclude students attending charter schools, special ed schools, the alternative schools where disruptive students are sent and schools in jails."

So an 80 percent graduation rate once we've filtered out those not graduating at an 80 percent rate.

Including charter schools.

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"Real journalists are not for sale, not for insider access, a free lunch or the prospect of a future book contract," Margaret Sullivan writes for the New York Times.

So that eliminates Neil Steinberg. But I digress.

"The best journalism is about truth-seeking and truth-telling; it's meant to serve the public. Integrity also means not borrowing from others without credit. If you want to put your name on it, don't cut corners. Do the work - or give the credit.

"Another thing I'm certain of: that the press is not supposed to be cozy with the powerful. Journalists are supposed to be a check on power, and that means not being afraid to be adversarial when needed: to dig out the truth when people don't want us to, to state it clearly and let the chips fall where they may."

It's sad that this still needs to be said, but it seems like it needs to be said now more than ever.

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"Glenn Greenwald is an interesting voice," Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger tells the Times.

"He is not a Guardian reporter, but what he writes is interesting. If we hadn't have hired him, we wouldn't have gotten Edward Snowden. Small things lead to big things."

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Also noted in that interview:

"In the Guardian reporter Luke Harding's book about the Snowden files, he says American journalists are too deferential to government sources."

That's what we were taught at Minnesota; they were trying to build Glenn Greenwalds, not Neil Steinbergs and others like him in the Chicago press corps.

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And the media followed.

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ChicagoSXSW
An alternate festival for those of us stuck at home.

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Yay, Democrats

From the family of the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

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BeachBook
* Miley and LeBron at Underground Chicago.

* Chicago Guy Wants $2.5 Million For URL 'Cabinets.Com.'

* Chicago Taxi Driver Busted In Kentucky Drug Deal In His Flash Cab.

* Devin Hester Says He's Best All-Around Player In NFL.

* California Towns Ditching Red-Light Cameras.

* Emerging Chicago Rapper, 17, Charged With Murder.

* A Benefit For Harvey "The Snake" Mandel.

* Handsome Family Make The 5 O'Clock News In Albuquerque.

* The White Stockings In Oz.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Early tipping has begun.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:52 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Answer To SXSW

If you couldn't get to Austin this week for SXSW, no worries - Chicago is hosting its own music festival for those of us stuck here at home. Among the highlights:

* Billy Corgan plays an eight-hour show at his tea shop interpreting Boss.

* Fall Out Boy plays Billy Dec's birthday party.

* Liz Phair tries to sell her charcoal drawings in Wicker Park.

* Kanye West projects his image on the Willis Tower while performing "We Should Have Never, Ever Let Michael Jordan Play For The Wizards."

* Robbie Fulks fills in for Tom Skilling, who will be in Austin.

* The Hideout holds a block party to raise money for the city to buy more salt.

* The Old Town School of Folk Music opens a pop-up school teaching drill in Naperville.

* R. Kelly headlines a panel on how disgusting he is.

* Billy Corgan plays an eight-hour show at his tea shop interpreting Highland Park's zoning ordinance.

* Jeff Tweedy hosts another fundraiser for Rahm Emanuel because the mayor "embodies all the best qualities of rock and roll, interpersonal communication and poetic living that I've always sung about."

* Chief Keef emerges from rehab, plays first show as $hief Keef.

* Jon Langford plays in 24 of his bands in 24 hours.

* Billy Corgan plays an eight-hour show at his tea shop interpreting his record contract.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:15 AM | Permalink

March 10, 2014

SportsMonday: A Bulls Wet Blanket

I'm afraid I'll have to deploy a wet blanket today. I usually avoid it but a sports fan needs to have one around, you know, in case of fire.

And a team should definitely keep firefighting materials handy when it employs Joakim Noah. He has to be the absolute No. 1 candidate in the sports world for suffering spontaneous combustion.

I'm drenching a comforter in the aftermath of Sunday's Bulls win not to point out for the millionth time that what the Bulls are doing is nice but they'll still lose to Miami in the playoffs. No, there are thousands of cynical NBA fans who have that task taken care of.
I'm dousing the flames of irrational confidence in light of the fact that while the Bulls' run since the start of the year has been nice (they've had the best record in the NBA since Jan. 1), their primary identity is still that of a lucky Eastern Conference club. Here, they are a game out of the third spot in the conference standings.

In the West, they'd still be a few games out . . . of the playoffs.

As hot as the Bulls (35-28) have been, the Toronto Raptors have been a bit hotter of late. Their 35-26 record is good for third behind the Pacers (46-17) and the Heat (43-17). In the West, on the other hand, the Grizzlies (who knocked off the Bulls in Chicago last Friday) and the Suns are deadlocked for the final playoff spot. They are both 36-26.

So while it was great to see the Bulls persevere against the Heat in overtime, the home team is still mediocre at best in the big picture.

I also feel compelled to cast a skeptical eye on the Bulls' latest transaction. The Jimmer Fredette signing simply didn't make much sense. There is no way Fredette will play good enough defense before the end of the year. Barring injury (and I guess with the Bulls at this point we have to take that into account every single day), he will not be entering the Bulls' primary rotation in time for the postseason.

In fact, this transaction was a shame. By all accounts, Fredette is one of those who can truly shoot the lights out, even against average NBA defenses. And while he has deficiencies, the shooting is good enough to make him attractive to teams in the aftermath of his run in Sacramento.

Wouldn't it have been cool if Fredette had signed with one of the decent but not great teams on the fringe of the playoffs who do not have a mantra of "Defense first, second and always?"

In the days leading up to Fredette signing with the Bulls, a fan could dream of a scenario where the former BYU star signed with a team that gave him the same sort of opportunity the Knicks gave Jeremy Lin. Fredette would have had a chance to fire away from way beyond the arc without hesitation for 25, 30, 35 minutes night after night.

It could have been Jim-sanity. Actually, Lin had considerably more time with his team leading up to Lin-sanity. At this relatively late moment in this season, Fredette probably wasn't going to electrify the league like the Harvard point guard did in Gotham two seasons ago.

But it felt possible. Now, it will almost certainly take an injury for Fredette to make a meaningful basketball mark in Chicago over the next few months. And while coach Tom Thibodeau has performed a series of miracles with his Bulls during the past few years, I don't think even he will be able to lead the Bulls to a playoff series victory this time around if there is another big injury.

Anyway, the Bulls are back in action tomorrow night against the Spurs. As long as Joakim Noah doesn't play with actual fire at some point in the next 36 hours, it should be a fun game. Just keep an extinguisher handy.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:53 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Docu-series or docu-wank? See what Tuffy and the Angry Aussie think on Cracking The Chicagoland Code.

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See also: Previous Podcasts.

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Note: We're just at the very rough beginning of building our Beachwood Radio network. If you'd like to contribute and/or have ideas for our podcasts, drop me a line.

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My comment on a Facebook post over the weekend:

"Being TV is no excuse for allowing a public official to mislead without providing fact-checking - especially for a purported news network. Apparently CNN couldn't be bothered to, for example, catalog the lies Rahm and CPS told about the school closings, as exposed repeatedly by Catalyst, WBEZ and others. Had they then used their access to challenge Rahm on those falsities, it would have been gripping TV instead of an hour-long faux movie trailer."

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Brown Cooked
"West Garfield Park ranks in the top 20 most violent areas on the city map," the Sun-Times reports.

"In 2011 and 2012, the West Side neighborhood got more than $2.1 million from Gov. Pat Quinn's administration through his Neighborhood Recovery Initiative anti-violence program, state records show.

"But instead of all that public money going toward quelling the shooting and other violence there, a substantial chunk of it - almost 7 percent - appears to have gone into the pocket of the husband of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.

"Benton Cook, Brown's spouse, was paid more than $146,401 in salary and fringe benefits from state grant funds to serve as the program coordinator with the Chicago Area Project, the agency the Quinn administration put in charge of doling out anti-violence funding to West Garfield Park, state records show."

That seems like a lot for a program that should've been bent on delivering as much of that money to the problem - instead of administrators - as possible. But maybe Cook has an explanation.

"While Cook didn't deny receiving the anti-violence grant money, he told the Sun-Times on Sunday he did not remember exactly how much he banked working for the Chicago Area Project. Cook insisted he didn't make anywhere close to that kind of money.

"It wasn't nearly $145,000," Cook said, telling a reporter at his front door to "check your records."

Done and done.

"State records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show that in 2011 Cook received $67,526 in salary and fringe benefits. Those documents, submitted to the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, even bear Cook's own signature attesting to his salary and benefits as well as five other Chicago Area Project workers paid with Neighborhood Recovery Initiative funds.

"In 2012, the organization told the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority Cook received $78,875 in salary and fringe benefits. State records spelling out that year's totals for Cook and three other employees did not have Cook's endorsement, as was the case in 2011, but they bore the signature of Howard Lathan, the Chicago Area Project's associate executive director."

I am a little confused. Do those totals include the salaries of Cook and the five (and then three) other employees?

I'd also like to know how Cook got the gig - did he have experience in this area? And what did Cook deliver exactly in this position?

I'm sure neither answer is satisfying - the whole thing stinks.

"Lathan did not return multiple messages for him left at the organization's office . . . The Chicago Area Project, which itself got $1.1 million through the program during that two-year window, did not respond to repeated messages left at its offices Friday. The Quinn administration also did not respond to questions about Cook's involvement in the anti-violence program."

Seems no one wants to talk about Cook. Perhaps this is why:

"On Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported [link mine] how the program employed two gang members on the South Side, who were paid $8.50 an hour to hand out anti-violence literature. One of those teens is now dead, shot in the head with a shotgun, and his colleague is charged with the youth's murder."

Meanwhile . . .

"A Brown aide would not facilitate an interview with her Friday about her husband's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative involvement nor offer any details about what exactly he did with the program to merit a six-figure income.

"This has nothing to do with the clerk's office," Brown spokeswoman Jalyne Strong-Shaw told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Really?

"Beyond his pay and benefits, a not-for-profit corporation he founded received another $3,333 in West Garfield Park's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative allotment. That entity, Dream Catchers Community Development Corp., is based in the home Cook shares with his wife."

And:

"Separately, Cook is at the center of a newly opened investigation by Cook County's inspector general into a June 2011 deal in which he was given land on the South Side for free by a campaign donor to his wife.

"A Better Government Association/Fox 32 investigation published in the Sun-Times found that Cook, once he'd obtained the land, added his wife's name to the property's deed, conveyed it to a corporation they both own, then sold it for $100,000. Brown never disclosed the transaction on her county economic interest statement."

Frankly, I'm surprised Brown has lasted this long. She's long been atop our leaderboard of county officials most likely to be indicted.

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The program that arguably pushed Quinn over the top in 2010 could derail him this time around.

Word on the street is that Quinn's support among blacks is eroding - and the governor must be concerned about James Meeks delivering for Bruce Rauner, should Rauner get the GOP nomination.

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Quinn's honeypot of a bungled anti-violence initiative is reminiscent in reverse of Ceasefire under Rod Blagojevich - in reverse in that Blago actually cut off state funds to Ceasefire in part because it couldn't show where the money was spent.

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The Chicago Area Project board and staff.

Koschman Cover-Up Con't
"Less than a month after the Chicago Police Department closed the David Koschman case without charging then-Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez decided someone needed to come in to do an 'independent investigation . . . to ensure we reach the truth in this case,'" the Sun-Times reports.

"Alvarez - who was feeling heat over her office's handling of the case - got the Illinois State Police to take it. Less than two weeks later, though, the state agency abruptly backed out.

"Newly obtained documents show why: In the interim, the incoming Illinois State Police director hand-delivered a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn saying he had conflicts of interest involving the Koschman investigation and recommending the case be turned over to the FBI."

That's what we would call a no-brainer. As widely reported at the time, the incoming ISP director was Hiram Grau. Consider:

"At the time of Koschman's death in 2004, Grau was the police department's deputy superintendent of the Bureau of Investigative Services, which had oversight of the case involving Daley nephew Richard J. 'R.J.' Vanecko. After leaving the department, Grau became Alvarez's deputy chief of investigations - the job he was leaving to run the state police."

Nice try, Anita!

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Englewood vs. Rahm
The kids have spoken.

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See also: Lincoln Park vs. Rahm.

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Observation: Richard M. Daley, rightly or wrongly, was perceived as the embodiment of Chicago; he was Chicago. Rahm Emanuel is perceived as someone who hates - or at least, dislikes - Chicago (or at least many of its people). Rahm is above Chicago. I don't think that works here.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Battlecross, Protest The Hero, Half the Math, George Strait, Radar Eyes, Bob Weir & RatDog, White Denim, Kings of Leon, Bayside, Ty Dolla $ign, The Summer Set, and Miley Cyrus.

A Bulls Wet Blanket
Deployed by a our very own Jim Coffman in SportsMonday.

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Help Make This Happen!

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BeachBook

* States Give Middle Finger To Congress Over Food Stamp Cuts.

* Got Road Salt? Price In Chicago Has Jumped Fivefold.

* Grandson Of WGN's Bozo The Clown In Reds Camp.

* Hawk Harrelson About To Be Exposed Even Further.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Hey now.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:37 AM | Permalink

Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

We discuss, you decide.


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See also: Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:10 AM | Permalink

Team Englewood vs. Rahm

Hide your schools, hide your homes, hide your children, 'cause he's wrecking it all.


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See also: Lincoln Park vs. Rahm.

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More from Team Englewood:

Who Am I by Kenyatta Tolbert.

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Don't Doubt This Crack Baby by Dallas Battle.

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Last Night I Burned My Camouflage Tutu by Alicia Hinton.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:41 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Battlecross at Mojoes on Saturday night.


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2. Protest The Hero at Mojoes on Saturday night.

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3. Half the Math at Township on Thursday night.

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4. George Strait in Rosemont on Saturday night.

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5. Radar Eyes at the Hideout on Saturday night.

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6. Bob Weir and RatDog at the Chicago Theatre on Friday night.

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7. White Denim at the Metro on Thursday night.

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8. Kings of Leon at the big hockey arena on Saturday night.

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9. Bayside at the Concord on Saturday night.

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10. Ty Dolla $ign at Reggies on Thursday night.

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11. The Summer Set at Schubas on Friday night.

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12. Miley Cyrus in Rosemont on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:51 AM | Permalink

March 8, 2014

The Weekend Desk Report

"Thursday night's premiere of the Robert Redford-produced Chicagoland didn't give CNN the primetime boost it was looking for in terms of ratings," Lori Rackl reports for the Sun-Times.

"The docuseries debut finished third among cable news networks nationally in total viewers for the 9 to 10 p.m. (Central) hour."

Which just goes to show, if you run something against Rahm - anything - he finishes last.

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"In fact," Wopular notes, "it came a distant third in terms of total viewership compared to its cable news time-slot rivals. The debut Thursday of the cable news network's heavily promoted eight-part documentary series drew 227,000 viewers among adults 25-54 with 629,000 total viewers."

By comparison, Rahm won election in 2011 with 323,546 votes.

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Nielsen did not provide numbers for how many viewers were journalists.

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UFC Fight Night 35 on Fox Sports 1 - Rockhold vs. Philippou - also pulled 629,000 total viewers. So there's that.

Bag Job
"Broadened Chicago Ban On Plastic Bags Gaining Steam."

Effort seeks to formalize the Brown Paper Bag as the Official Bag of Chicago.

Lite Snack
"GOP Lieutenant Governor Candidates Debate On TV."

A) Three are against it.
B) Just one household watching.
C) They all stood on one in an effort to attract attention.

Frat Scat
"Sigma Alpha Epsilon, one of the oldest and largest U.S. college fraternities, said on Friday that it would eliminate its member initiation practices, following a number of hazing-related deaths and other incidents," Reuters reports.

"Starting Sunday, the fraternity with 14,000 undergraduate members across the country will end pledging, according to a statement from SAE, based in Evanston, Illinois."

There'll be plenty of time to be sadistic once members graduate into Corporate America, the fraternity said.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Scatty.

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Beachwood Podcast No. 4
Cracking the Chicagoland Code. Plus: Crimea's Pop-Up Parliament, Anchor Meltdown at RT, and The Mel Reynolds Conspiracy.

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Who's With Me?

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Obama Promises $4 Trillion Of Empty Rhetoric

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BeachBook
* What Happens When You Opt Your Kids Out Of Standardized Tests.

* How Working In Washington Taught Me We're All A Little Like RT.

* The Undisclosed Truth About The Washington Post's Experts On Venezuela.

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TweetWood

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Allen Toussaint is a singer, songwriter, producer and all-around legend. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer joins us this week to talk about his 60-plus year career in music and how New Orleans is in everything he does. Jim and Greg also talk with Morgan Neville, the now Oscar winning director of 20 Feet from Stardom."

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The Flying Saucer Weekend Brunch Report: Shrimp strong.

fsspecialsmarch82014.jpg

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Perspectivas Latinas: Community Health Partnership Of Illinois

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Susan Bauer, Monserrat Gonzalez and Joel Gramirez of the non-profit Community Health Partnership of Illinois discuss the health services they provide for migrant Latino farmworkers in Illinois.

Saturday at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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Talking Trash: Waste, Sprawl And The Future Of The Seas

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Steven Corey of Columbia College takes a look at how environment waste, including the urbanization of shores and dumping of waste into oceans, pollutes waterways but can be prevented.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Fracking And Public Health

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Ann Alexander of the Natural Resources Defense Council speaks about how fracking affects the health of people living nearby by using chemical solutions to extract oil from the ground.

Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Reflections On Milwaukee's Food Desert

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Young Kim, the executive director of the Fondy Food Center in Milwaukee, highlights efforts to address food insecurity in the 21st century.

Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on CAN TV21.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:30 AM | Permalink

March 7, 2014

The [Friday] Papers

Did the media blow the story of Arthur Bishop, the short-lived director of the state Department of Children and Family Services?

I take a look in The Sad Saga of Arthur Bishop.

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Also, while you're there: The Week In Juvenile Justice.

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Billion-Dollar Baby
"A bill making its way through the state House would allow Russian steel company Evraz Group to keep its employees' state taxes," the Tribune reports.

"In 2011, the state made a deal with Evraz worth $4.2 million in corporate income tax credits over 13 years. In exchange, the company promised to relocate its North American headquarters to Chicago and create 70 jobs.

"The company is now requesting to use that credit against its employees' withholdings. Companies make such a request when they pay little to no corporate income taxes to the state."

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"Illinois laid on $3 million in incentives to sweeten the deal for Evraz, including tax credits spread over 10 years and a one-time training grant of $50,000," the Oregonian reported in 2011.

"The recession bruised Evraz North America, which gained sales again last year and aims to exceed $3 billion in revenues this year. 'We want to be a $4 billion company going to $5 billion,' [North America CEO Mike] Rehwinkel said."

Even if it takes taxpayer money to get there!

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"Shares in the FTSE 100 steelmaker Evraz fell by more than a tenth as the metals company plunged into the red due to falling steel prices," the Financial Times reported last April.

"Russia's largest steelmaker, which is part owned by Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, said it would not pay a final dividend 'due to the deterioration in the market environment, and consequently our performance' which saw the company swing from an $873m pre-tax profit in 2011 to a $106m loss in 2012."

That's the steel business; there happens to be a glut right now.

Oh, and Roman Abramovich is the 137th wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of $9.1 billion.

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Back to the Trib:

"The bill, which was introduced last month by Rep. Kenneth Dunkin, D-Chicago, now sits in the House Income Tax Subcommittee."

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Tweeting Chicagoland
I don't think I can go through a whole season of this.

Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill
Served a million people - and rocked them all.

Prop Bet
Howard Brookins added to the board.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Whitney Peyton, Peasant Revolution, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Bob Mould, Robbie Fulks & Jon Langford, Fred Frith, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Call It Treason, and Life Once Lived.

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BeachBook
* At Illinois DHS, New And Improved Is 'Inhumane.'

* Today Show 'Safety Mom' Was Really A Paid Endorser.

* Brands' Facebook Reach Has Crashed.

* Guantanamo's Restricted Library.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Heavy.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:04 AM | Permalink

Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already

I don't think I can go through a whole season of this.

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Yes, and the Tribune is on it!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:24 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Whitney Peyton at Mojoes in Joliet on Monday night.


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2. Peasant Revolution at Mojoes on Sunday night.

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3. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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4. Bob Mould at City Winery on Sunday night.

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5. Robbie Fulks & Jon Langford at Bloodshot HQ on Tuesday.

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6. Fred Frith at the Constellation on Monday night.

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7. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus at Mojoes in Joliet on Wednesday night.

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8. Call It Treason at Mojoes in Joliet on Wednesday night.

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9. Life Once Lived at Mojoes on Tuesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:31 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill

And rocked.

jerisgrillorigexp.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:42 AM | Permalink

March 6, 2014

The [Thursday] Papers

"This was the second debate in two nights and the third in a week - and it showed. Piling on the debates at the end of a campaign isn't very constructive, and often sets up counter-productive dynamics," I write today in Tweeting The WGN GOP Debate.

"For example, when there is a clear frontrunner, as there is in the case of Bruce Rauner, the dynamic becomes 'attack the frontrunner.' And then the media equation becomes 'did anyone land a knockout blow' and by that time we've drifted far from reality because the veracity of the attacks matter little when a sense of inevitability sets in.

"So here's an idea: Schedule debates at the beginning, middle and end of the campaign. You're welcome!"

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"I mean, you might as well say 'Please give us your answer on clouting your daughter into Payton again' . . . 'Please tell us why you won't release the report again' . . . 'Please tell us why you cut that ad for Barack Obama again' . . . 'Please tell us about your business problems again' . . . Advance the ball, please."

Tool Kit
"Eight months ago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised aldermen they could restore paid Sunday parking in their wards to help ensure local businesses thrive and residents were kept happy," the Tribune reports.

"They're still waiting."

Chicagoland!

REM Manager Vs. Obama
Why Don't Private Schools Adopt Your Test-Based Reforms?

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Seemingly related:

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The real answer, which neither Obama nor Emanuel dare say, is that they think their kids are above and beyond mass standardized testing, but your kids are not. Just like their kids have been prepped to attend elite colleges and get elite jobs while your kids will be funneled to community colleges and state universities and prepared for minimum-wage and middle-management jobs where they will have been shaped to take orders; one purpose of standardized testing is to produce standardized workers. Obama and Emanuel have already put their children on the track to be those workers' bosses, trained with a more sophisticated set of thinking skills available only to elites.

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Rahm shows up on this teacher's test.

The Expanding Man
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel is cautioning people not to get ahead of themselves when it comes to the expansion of Soldier Field," NBC5 reports.

"The Chicago Park District and Emanuel are exploring ways to expand Soldier Field by 5,000 seats, but on Wednesday, the mayor said it's too early to talk about how to pay for it."

Right. Let's wait until the deal is sealed behind closed doors. Then the mayor will say, hey, you had your chance, we had an open process!

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Also, this: "The Soldier Field Fiasco: The next time City Hall pols tell you, 'Don't worry, no risk,' remember this."

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And finally:

"Emanuel says events like international soccer games, and outdoor NHL and college hockey games weren't factored into the equation when the stadium was last renovated."

"We never envisioned that," Emanuel said.

I heard Rahm say on another broadcast that "We're using [Soldier Field] in ways not considered when it was built just for football."

Simply not true. Attracting more non-football events to a new Soldier Field was always one of the main selling points foisted on the public.

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If it often seems like Rahm Emanuel just got here, it's because he did.

Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA
Teaches the media a thing or two, too.

Whole Englewood
From a Chicago Reporter interview with Mrs. Englewood.

"When it first became known the TIF would be funding a Whole Foods, the neighborhood had mixed reactions, and it still does now. Of course, we want healthy food options in the community. Whole Foods will drive some economic growth, people will get jobs at the store, and other retailers will come to the area. But Whole Foods was going to set up there regardless of whether or not we supported it. Community voices are the last on the totem poll for decisions involving our tax dollars.

"The community development has been whatever the alderman has decided would be best for the community without asking the community. What they're doing at the moment is developing veteran housing units on 61st Street. I am not really sure how such units will help us develop a long-term local economy, which is what TIF money is supposed to do. It seems to me that housing more people who can't afford to buy their own homes isn't going to bring in much new potential for economic growth."

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What are the biggest challenges Englewood residents face right now? Are they different from when RAGE was first formed?

"They're the same - it's still perception of the safety and people in the area. We can talk about economic development and political challenges, but the perception underlies all of that.

"And the way things are structured in Chicago, Englewood is a victim of the structure. Our schools close. The majority of people are unemployed. These are all challenges most underserved neighborhoods of marginalized communities face."

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BeachBook
* Sochi, Illinois.

* Rejection Letter Reveals Chicago Judge's Plan To Retire.

* How White House Defines On-The-Record: Off-The-Record.

* USDA Jumpstarts Midwest Beekeeping But Illinois Left Out Of The $3 Million Honeypot.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Extraconstitutional.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:25 AM | Permalink

Tweeting The WGN GOP Debate

This was the second debate in two nights and the third in a week - and it showed. Piling on the debates at the end of a campaign isn't very constructive, and often sets up counter-productive dynamics.

For example, when there is a clear frontrunner, as there is in the case of Bruce Rauner, the dynamic becomes "attack the frontrunner." And then the media equation becomes "did anyone land a knockout blow" and by that time we've drifted far from reality because the veracity of the attacks matter little when a sense of inevitability sets in.

So here's an idea: Schedule debates at the beginning, middle and end of the campaign. You're welcome!

And not as well as Carol Marin did the night before.

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I mean, you might as well say "Please give us your answer on clouting your daughter into Payton again" . . . "Please tell us why you won't release the report again" . . . "Please tell us why you cut that ad for Barack Obama again" . . . "Please tell us about your business problems again" . . . Advance the ball, please.

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Previously:
* Tweeting The ABC7 GOP Debate.

* Tweeting The NBC5 GOP Debate.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:48 AM | Permalink

Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA

C-SPAN on Wednesday announced the winners of the national 2014 StudentCam documentary competition.

Each year since 2006, C-SPAN has invited middle and high school students to produce short documentaries on an issue of national importance.

This year, students used video cameras to answer the questions, "What's the most important issue the U.S. Congress should consider in 2014?"

In response, more than 4,800 students in 46 states and Washington, DC sent a total of 2,355 entries to C-SPAN this year - nearly 25 percent more than the number of entries received last year.

Students worked in teams or as individuals to address a wide range of public policy issues, from immigration to gun legislation to the environment.

The most popular topic in 2014 was the economy. Sixteen percent of entries were about economic issues such as poverty, unemployment, and the national debt, followed by gun legislation (14 percent) and education (13 percent).

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Here's second-prize middle-school winner Ben Blum's Data Obsession. Blum goes to Saint Mark's School in San Rafael, California.


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Here are all the winners.

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(h/t: BoingBoing)

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Previously:
* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

* Jon Stewart: The Old Hope-A-Dope.

* Four Blatantly False Claims Obama Has Made About NSA Surveillance.

* EFF To DOJ In Lawsuit: Stop Pretending Information Revealed About NSA Over Last Seven Months Is Still A Secret.

* Judge On NSA Case Cites 9/11 Report, But It Doesn't Actually Support His Ruling.

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

* Filed: 22 Firsthand Accounts Of How NSA Surveillance Chilled The Right To Association.

* Claim On 'Attacks Thwarted' By NSA Spreads Despite Lack Of Evidence.

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

* Government Standards Agency: Don't Follow Our Encryption Guidelines Because NSA.

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

* NSA Briefing: It Just Got Worse (Again).

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

* It Not Only Can Happen Here, It Is Happening Here.

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

* America's Lying About Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Obama Continues To Lie His Ass Off About The NSA.

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Has The U.S. Government Lied About Its Snooping? Let's Go To The Videotape.

* Who Are We At War With? That's Classified.

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

* NSA Says It Can't Search Its Own E-Mails.

* Does The NSA Tap That?

* Obama Explains The Difference Between His Spying And Bush's Spying.

* FAQ: What You Need To Know About The NSA's Surveillance Programs.

* NSA: Responding To This FOIA Would Help "Our Adversaries".

* Fact-Check: The NSA And 9/11.

* The NSA's Black Hole: 5 Things We Still Don't Know About The Agency's Snooping.

* Defenders Of NSA Surveillance Citing Chicago Case Omit Most Of Mumbai Plotter's Story.

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

* ProPublica's Guide To The Best Stories On The Growing Surveillance State.

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See also:
* Jimmy Carter: America's Shameful Human Rights Record.

* James Goodale: Only Nixon Harmed A Free Press More.

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

* Paul Steiger: Why Reporters In The U.S. Now Need Protection.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:29 AM | Permalink

March 5, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Rutherford's been exposed, Brady isn't really cosmopolitan enough to run the nation's fifth-largest state, Rauner is a phony baloney rich enough to buy the nomination and Dillard is the classic Edgar-Ryan-Thompson candidate except for his inability to run a campaign."

- Me, in Tweeting The NBC5 GOP Debate.

Test Fest
"A simmering battle over standardized tests heated up last week as CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett sent a letter to parents warning that they shouldn't opt their children out of state tests and local exams required by the district," Catalyst reports.

"Though CPS has touted its cutbacks on testing, the classroom time spent on exams has recently increased because of the REACH assessments used to evaluate teachers.

"In fact, a Catalyst Chicago analysis of school assessment plans obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that the steps to curb testing have apparently had little impact: Many schools are administering far more tests than CPS requires, and the youngest children are some of the most-tested."

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Meanwhile, from a More Than A Score field report Tuesday:

"Some opting out students forced to take test, denied paper, pencil, treats, bathroom breaks. Scattered reports of real learning breaking out where teachers refused to give tests."

Standing Room Only
"With rents rising and incomes shrinking across the country, the Chicago-area has fallen behind other major metropolitan areas in creating new housing for its poorest families during the past decade," the Chicago Reporter reports.

"Unlike the Chicago-area, some places are actually closing the gap. Los Angeles County, for example, added more than 34,000 units for the county's poorest during just more than a decade. New York City's five counties combined to add another 30,000.

"If there's one take away from the Urban Institute's report it's if public officials decide that improving housing prospects for their poorest residents is a priority, housing can be built."

Seemingly related: Emanuel Looking At Soldier Field Expansion.

Coffee For Closers
"The list of closers with real value is very short, and it got even shorter after last season with the retirement of Mariano Rivera, who was the very model of consistency at a position that has very little consistency from year to year," our very own Dan O'Shea writes in Part 5 of his Fantasy Fix Baseball Draft Guide.

"Yet, in Mo's wake, it seems we do have another year-in, year-out dominant RP emerging. He's the clear No. 1."

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BeachBook
* Buy Useful And Odd Dominick's Equipment Online.

* Wisconsin Tourism Department A Lot Cooler Than Ours.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Assault our senses.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:06 AM | Permalink

Tweeting The NBC5 GOP Debate

This was easily a better affair than last week's ABC7 debate, and the main reason for that was moderator Carol Marin, who asked a combination of fresh questions and old questions wrapped in fresh formulations. She also actually listened to the candidates' answers and wasn't afraid to follow-up on their claims.

Let's take a look.

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Analysis: Rutherford's been exposed, Brady isn't really cosmopolitan enough to run the nation's fifth-largest state, Rauner is a phony baloney rich enough to buy the nomination and Dillard is the classic Edgar-Ryan-Thompson candidate except for his inability to run a campaign.

And let's not forget: Pat Quinn is indeed the luckiest Illinois pol this side of Barack Obama because if Bill Daley and/or Lisa Madigan were in the race, he'd be getting beat up pretty good right now in debates too.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:24 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Baseball Draft Guide Part 5 - Closing Time

If you have read my previous fantasy baseball draft guides, you already know that my least favorite part of any draft (and any draft guide) is choosing relief pitchers.

The list of closers with real value is very short, and it got even shorter after last season with the retirement of Mariano Rivera, who was the very model of consistency at a position that has very little consistency from year to year.

Yet, in Mo's wake, it seems we do have another year-in, year-out dominant RP emerging. He's the clear No. 1, though I still wouldn't go out of my way to draft him before late fifth round or early sixth round in a 10- or 12-team league.

1. Craig Kimbrel, ATL: Fifty saves last year were a career-high. His strikeout total did slip under 100 for the first time to 98, but his K/9 IP is still in the double digits (13.2), which is what you want from a top closer; his K/BB ratio is almost 5/1. No reason he won't lead the NL in saves again.

2. Kenley Jansen, LAD: His 111 strikeouts in 77 IP and 0.86 WHIP last year both were better than Kimbrel, and though he topped out at 28 saves and missed some time due to injury, his stock is surging as the Dodgers look like a clear postseason contender again.

3. Trevor Rosenthal, STL: A little lower on some lists, mainly because he's a first-time closer, but he's been groomed for the job by a team that does everything exactly right. His 108 strikeouts in 75 innings as a set-up man last year make him arguably as good a choice as Jansen for No. 2.

4. Aroldis Chapman, CIN: In stretches, he is the most unhittable RP of this bunch, and with 15.8 K/9 IP, he can deliver as many strikeouts a week as some starters. His downside is streakiness, and there can be a very ugly game or two between the hot streaks.

5. Greg Holland, KC: The Royals found the win column a lot more often last year, which helped Holland to 47 saves. His high points were a 1.21 ERA and 0.86 WHIP, and if he comes anywhere close to those numbers this year, he'll net 50-55 saves for a still-improving team.

6. Koji Uehara, BOS: It took the eventual champs a while to find their closer last year, but when they did, he was unhittable, with a .130 batting average against, and a 1.09 ERA. He is about to turn 39, so this could be a risky ranking, but the Red Sox should give him many save chances.

7. Joe Nathan, DET: Another oldie but goodie. This 39-year-old recorded his most saves in four seasons last year, and his lowest ERA and WHIP in five seasons. He should be even tougher in a pitchers' park after moving from Texas to Detroit during the offseason.

8. Michael Wacha, STL: SP/RP. If you slot him as an RP, you're more interested in ensuring you win the wins and Ks categories than battling to win the save category, but that's a strategy some managers use, and if you do, Wacha is at the top of the dual eligibility list this year.

9. Tony Cingrani, CIN: SP/RP. And this guy would be No. 2 on that same list. He's going to have some nice weeks of 15-20 strikeouts; hard to beat in the RP slot.

10. David Roberston, NYY: Mo Rivera's heir apparent had just 18 walks in 66 IP, though he did yield 51 hits. He's not as dominant a strikeout pitchers as some closers, but the bottom line is that the closer for the Yankees is going to be assured plenty of save opportunities.

11. Jim Johnson, OAK: The most difficult ranking on this list. He led the AL with 50 saves last year, giving him 101 in the last two seasons. Yet, every other number was worse in 2013, including a .273 BAA, not what you want to see in the 9th inning. Plus, many more grounders than whiffs.

12. Rafael Soriano, WAS: Another guy not strong in strikeouts, with 51 in 67 IP last year, but he gets the job done. He has managed 40+ saves in each of his last three years as a closer.

13. Sergio Romo, SF: Somehow managed 38 saves last year while giving up 53 hits in 60 IP. At least his ceiling his no longer limited by Bruce Bochy's old closer committee approach.

14. Andrew Cashner, SD: SP/RP. Could finally be in line for a breakout year, so he could end up giving you a very good fifth starter from the RP slot. Injury risk is high, however.

15. Glen Perkins, MIN: His sterling 36-save season was the Twins team highlight for 2013. A .196 BAA and 0.93 WHIP are promising signs for better things, and might make him a bargain here as a second closer. Still, the Twins won't be any better, so he could max out at 35-36 saves again.

16. Grant Balfour, TAM: Mostly delivered on considerable hype last year with 38 saves for Oakland, and went back to Tampa, the scene of his great past success as a set-up man. However, his ERA has ticked upward four straight seasons, and his 1.20 WHIP last year isn't great for a closer.

17. Steve Cishek, MIA: Young closer managed 34 saves in 36 chances for a bad team. Miami won't be much better, but a little. With only one year under his belt, he's not a No. 1 RP just yet.

18. Jonathan Papelbon, PHI: A ridiculously low 11 walks in 61 IP last year show he's still got control, but 59 hits yielded show a veteran closer on the wane. Things could get interesting if he's traded or manages to find his mojo again.

19. Jason Grilli, PIT: Part of this aging arm's success story is that he landed with the right team to collect 33 saves for last year. The Pirates will be good again, though at 37 and with some time out last year from injury, I don't see Grilli doing much better.

20. Fernando Rodney, SEA: He became the wild card of this bunch when he recently signed with the Mariners, who should end up in plenty of close games. He did have eight blown saves for Tampa last year, but rallied as the season wore on, and earned 37 saves.

Just missed: Ernesto Frieri, LAA: His inconsistency last year could be seen in his 3.80 ERA, though he did have 37 saves for a middling team. If the Angels start hot and Frieri piles up strikeouts, he could move deep into the top 20.

Sleeper: John Axford, CLE: He's a few years removed from his best year in Milwaukee, but signs suggest the closer job is his to lose, and Cleveland should hand him plenty of leads.

Sleeper who isn't really a sleeper: Addison Reed, ARI: How does a guy with 40 saves not make the top 20? He was often shaky and actually blew eight saves for the White Sox, and the Sox might have had the right idea trading him when he still had value. I see him more likely as an in-season pick-up if he shows a hot hand early.

Next week: We mash up all of our position research into an overall fantasy top 50.

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Previously in the Draft Guide:
* The Pitchers & Catchers Report Report.

* The 1B Logjam & 2B Drought.

* 3B & SS And The Last Of The Sure Thing.

* The Big Fish.

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Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:42 AM | Permalink

March 4, 2014

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Sneed is told senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett is dating Ahmad Rashad , the four-times-married sportscaster who was once a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings."

And by "told," she means - once again - that she read about it in a dozen other places.

Sneed does acknowledge near the end of the item that "Last year, the New York Post tipped that Jarrett and Rashad, who has five children and multiple stepchildren, were seeing each other," but nonetheless cites a "Sneed source" for her observation that Rashad "began quietly 'seeing' Jarrett, 57, last year."

The Post item was last November, the Beachwood is told.

Another Beachwood source who would only agree to be identifed as "Google" tells the Beachwood that Rashad is "secretly" dating Jarrett, and that Rashad converted to Islam 42 years ago, as noted by Sneed because, well, that's what a "source" told her. It's not like she just read it somewhere ugly.

The Dim One
When is an interview with the mayor an "exclusive?"

When you're using him to sell your new political site.

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When is an interview with the mayor a useless exercise?

When your "ace" reporter can't think of any good questions to ask.

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For openers: So, Mr. Mayor, whatever happened to your Children's Fund?

Hood Winked
"Many Chicago Public Schools students found themselves Monday in the middle of a tug of war between parents and teachers calling for a boycott of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test and district officials who continue to stress the exam's importance," the Tribune reports.

"A coalition of anti-testing advocates said parents at more than 70 district schools have submitted letters telling administrators they don't want their children to take the test. The action is the latest sign of nationwide dissatisfaction over the growth of standardized testing."

Here's the part of the story I found fascinating:

"At a news conference Monday at the Thompson Center downtown to discuss the issue, several parents said administrators were making it uncomfortable for students who, with parental permission, had opted not to take the test. They said those students are still having the test put in front of them.

"CPS officials said Monday that the Illinois State Board of Education requires them to distribute the exam to all students in grades three through eight 'to give them an opportunity to participate.'"

In other words, even though kids have opted out, they will be required to remain at their desks with a test in front of them. Perhaps there will even be a cookie placed on the last page.

Parents of opted-out kids would rather their kids be allowed to, say, read a book during the testing time. CPS says that could cause chaos.

"The district is working with principals and teachers to ensure that students who are taking the ISAT are able to do so in a quiet environment that is free from distraction," spokesman Joel Hood said.

That's not even the best part. This is: Hood is a former Tribune reporter who used to tell the truth about CPS for a living.

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And This Little Piggie Went To Work In The Markets . . .

Brain Freeze
"In the first, and possibly only, debate in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, frontrunner Jim Oberweis on Monday tried to distance himself from his past praise of President Barack Obama's foreign policy decisions amid mounting tension between the U.S. and Russia," the Tribune reports.

"The state senator and multimillionaire from Sugar Grove told an audience of about 50 at a candidate forum in Huntley that Obama had erred in drawing lines with foreign adversaries and not following through."

Well, that seems like a reasonable enough position.

"It was a departure from the stance Oberweis took during a meeting with the Tribune editorial board last month, in which he said that he was 'fairly satisfied with the direction' taken by Obama in foreign conflicts."

Oh.

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"Oberweis says he is not available to debate on most weekdays because of legislative duties, and recently insisted he was unaware of any outstanding invitations to debate Truax on a Sunday. But Truax said he was aware of such an invitation and had repeatedly declined.

"In general, I don't think you're being honest with the public," Truax said.

Oberweis countered: "Doug, you're just 100 percent totally, completely wrong. I said I was not aware of any invitations that I had turned down. That continues to be true. I did not turn down any. I do believe that there were invitations made to some of our staff, but I was never even informed of it. So I'm sorry, but you're wrong."

I was never even informed of invitations that my staff turned down without asking me because we've already agreed to not accept any more debates but how would I know because I was never informed!

Truax pressed the issue.

"You got to go out there and debate in live - this is all good, but we've got to get on live radio and TV and, in my opinion, you're ducking out on those things," Truax said.

That was enough for moderator George Sebastian.

"Gentlemen, can we go on to the next question?" he asked.

"Please do," said Oberweis.

You can always count on the moderator to keep a debate from devolving into a debate.

Liquor Is Quicker
"Two undisclosed figures in the bribery charge filed last week against the chief of staff for Ald. Howard Brookins were caught on undercover FBI recordings talking about the ease with which they expected to win Brookins' approval for a liquor license in his South Side ward," the Tribune reports.

"The associates, identified only as individuals A and B, outlined a system in which aldermen and go-betweens are purportedly paid thousands of dollars to grease the liquor license application process."

Please be Ed Burke and Joe Moore, please be Ed Burke and Joe Moore, please be Ed Burke and Joe Moore . . .

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Of course, the individuals are identified as "associates" rather than aldermen because only idiots on the council are actually present themselves when Post-It notes with dollar amounts are passed around.

"In late October, Individual B brought the informant to a meeting with Brookins, Thompson and two other aides at Brookins' office on South Ashland Avenue. He handed over the alleged bribe offer written on a Post-it note attached to an artistic rendering of his proposed convenience store."

Oh.

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"Brookins' father, former state Sen. Howard Brookins Sr., was recorded in several telephone calls, including one in which he assured Individual B he would not be cut out of the deal if he brought the informant to his son's ward office for a meeting 'so they can see what the deal is.'"

Oh, daddy Brookins, you not look so good.

Calling On Cawley
"CPS Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley is due for a $215,000 salary, up from his predecessor's $179,167," the Sun-Times reported in 2011.

"[B]oard members will be asked to give Cawley a two-year, rather than the traditional six-month, extension to move into the city to meet residency requirements. Cawley is a Winnetka resident and he and his wife would like their daughter, adopted a year ago from the Ukraine, to finish seventh and eighth grade in the suburbs before the family uproots and moves to Chicago."

First, someone should ask Cawley with compassion about any friends, teachers or other associates his daughter has back in Ukraine. Then ask if he's moved his family into the city as promised.

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Obama Breaks Pot Promise, Dude Goes To Prison
The remarkably maddening story of Robert Duncan.

From Mindless Morning TV To Marijuana
Fake chef, fake media.

From Muddy Waters To Bloody Mary
Cherry bombs.

Richie Incognito Would Never Happen In Baseball
Culture gap.

Literary Rock & Roll
Provocation and witness.

Unsatisfrying
Idaho Was Here and We Had Wood.

Like What You See?
Now would be an excellent time to show your love.

Beachwood Podcast #3
We called it.

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BeachBook
* Chicago Taxi Credit Card Breach.

* Save The Tokyo Hotel!

* Now Corey Crawford's Pads Are Missing.

* Woodstock Streets Chief Charged With Stealing Ton Of Salt.

* Canada Doesn't Want Accused Fraudster Of Edgewater Hospital.

* Human Rights Watch: Obama The Disappointment.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Assert your interests.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:14 AM | Permalink

Random Food Report: Unsatisfrying

1. Unsatisfrying.

"Just on the heels of kids' nutrition and obesity making headlines, Burger King is including Satisfries in kids meals," Ad Age reports.

"The meals will now include Satisfries automatically, along with apple slices, choice of cheeseburger, hamburger, four-piece chicken nuggets or six-piece chicken nuggets and a choice of drink."

The best part, though, is what Burger King executives are serving up.

"Burger King has historically been one of the largest fast-food kids marketers, said Chief Marketing Officer Eric Hirschhorn, noting that about 10% of Burger King's sales comes from kids meals. He also noted that adding Satisfries was 'the obvious choice' and that Burger King won't be directly marketing to kids for the new fries, but that the chain will have some merchandising and menu-board marketing in-store."

We wouldn't dream of marketing such an obvious choice to kids!

"Mr. Hirschhorn declined to confirm whether Satisfries were given permanent status, saying only that their addition to the kids menu was 'a step in the right direction.'"

One small step for Burger King, one giant leap backwards for the world's kids.

2. River West Jerk.

3. We Had Wood.

"Artists have tried all sorts of strategies to get us to think more critically about the systems and spaces that govern the modern world. Roxy Paine's approach was to carve them out of wood," Wired reports.

"For Apparatus, a recent exhibition at the Kavi Gupta gallery in Chicago, the New York-based artist created two striking dioramas - one of a space race-era control room, the other of a fast food restaurant-both made entirely of birch and maple.

carcass1.jpg(ENLARGE)

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4. Advice For Pet Food Same As That For Humans.

5. United Expanding Gluten-Free Options.

Will find space for them by removing more legroom.

6. Idaho Was Here.

"Spotlighting all-Idaho food items, the recent two-day Idaho Culinary Celebration in Chicago brought expanded market focus to its primary sponsors, USA Onions/Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee and the Idaho Potato Commission, as well as the Idaho State Department of Agriculture and a large group of Gem State agricultural companies and commodity groups," the Produce News reports.

Photos!

7. FDA Pretends To Regulate.

"Packaged foods sold in the United States would display calorie counts more prominently and include the amount of added sugar under a proposal to significantly update nutritional labels for the first time in 20 years as health officials seek to reduce obesity and combat related diseases such as diabetes."

How unsatisfrying.

8. Waco Chicago.

"If you took everything that is distinctive or notorious about Chicago - its sports teams, its Midwestern accents and sometimes sarcastic attitude, its Mafia-themed criminal past and its unique, flavorful foods - and then somehow mixed it all together inside a restaurant, you'd have the heady essence of WiseGuys, a Chicago eatery located on Valley Mills Drive in Waco's Westview Village shopping center," the Waco Trib reports.

We presume he's being sarcastic.

9. Find Chicago Food All Over The Las Vegas Valley.

10. Mark's Chop Suey Closes After 38 Years.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:49 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Provocation & Witness

1. Split This Rock.

"The March 2014 issue of Poetry, now available online, presents 24 poems from 16 poets addressing history, society and current events, in a portfolio co-edited with Split This Rock, an organization that fosters a national network of socially engaged poets.

"Poetry can tell the true American story," says Split This Rock executive director Sarah Browning. "We chose these writers from an ever-growing list of poets of provocation and witness whom we wildly admire. Surely we are living in a golden age of American poetry. And at its glittering center, leading the way, are poets of conscience such as those gathered here."

"Joy Harjo, Yusef Komunyakaa, Dunya Mikhail and Anne Waldman are among the poets included in this special portfolio."

2. Economics For Humans.

"Is the economy a machine? Adam Smith created that metaphor and three centuries of economists and pundits have followed his lead. But not Julie A. Nelson, who argues that an economy is a society's beating heart. Human care and emotion, human relationships and morality are at the core of an economy, themes explored in her provocative and accessible Economics for Humans, our free e-book for March."

3. Story Week Memorial For David Hernandez.

"The Guild Literary Complex (the Guild) continues to highlight diverse and powerful voices in this year's Story Week through a collaboration with Columbia College Chicago's Department of Creative Writing.

"These events include a reading, conversation, and book signing with author Cristina Garcia on March 18; three linked programs at the recently renovated Humboldt Park Fieldhouse, including a panel discussion and our monthly Palabra Pura reading featuring novelist Valeria Luiselli on March 19; and a life tribute to poet, organizer, and community activator David Hernandez on March 20. All events are free and open to the public.

LITERARY ROCK & ROLL: a Tribute to David Hernandez with Street Sounds Thursday, March 20, 6 p.m. (doors at 5:30 p.m.) Metro, 3730 N. Clark St.

"Street Sounds, led by James Cornolo, performs in a night of music and poetry honoring the work of poet/bandleader David Hernandez (1946-2013). The evening includes readings of Hernandez's original poetry by special guests Achy Obejas (host), Eduardo Arocho, Marta Collazo, and Carlos Cumpián."

4. Greg Kot Turns It Up.

"Greg Kot, chief music critic for the Chicago Tribune for a quarter-century, has been called an 'able, engaging, and appreciative' writer by Slate, while The AV Club describes his books - including the highly praised new release I'll Take You There - as 'revealing' and 'invaluable.'

Now, for the first time, Kot's work at the Tribune is collected in a single e-book. TURN IT UP: A Guided Tour Through the Worlds of Pop, Rock, Rap and More (Agate Digital, 978-1-57284-471-1, $4.99) spans the past 13 years of Kot's career, and it's a fast-paced glimpse of music journalism can be practiced in the digital age.

"Turn It Up runs the gamut from album reviews to in-depth features on an eclectic range of musical artists and topics. The book gives equal attention to pop, rock, and hip-hop in three sprawling chapters before closing with a catch-all chapter that covers everything outside and in between: contemporary jazz, the resurgence of house music, portraits of record labels, and radical shifts affecting the 'music biz' in the new millennium."

5. Tribute To Leon Forrest.

"The Society of Midland Authors and the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame will present a tribute to the acclaimed Chicago novelist Leon Forrest on Tuesday, March 11, at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, Chicago.

"Donald G. Evans will lead a panel discussion featuring Ronne Hartfield and Kathleen E. Bethel talking about Forrest's life and literature. The discussion begins at 7 p.m. A social hour with free appetizers and a cash bar begins at 6 p.m. No reservations are required for this free public event.

"Leon Forrest (1937-1997) is one of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame's newest inductees. He also served as president of the Society of Midland Authors. His stream-of-consciousness writing concerned the legacy of slavery and earned him a place on Chicago magazine's 'Most Important Chicagoans of the 20th Century.'

"His novels are set in a mythical Forrest County that closely resembles Chicago. His third novel, Two Wings to Veil My Face (1984), won the Society of Midland Authors Award for adult fiction, the DuSable Museum Certificate of Merit and Achievement in Fiction, the Carl Sandburg Award and the Friends of Literature Prize. His fourth book, Divine Days (1992), won the Chicago Sun-Times Book of the Year Award for local fiction.

"Forrest grew up on the South Side and went to school at Wendell Phillips, Hyde Park Academy and Wilson Junior College. He wrote and edited for several South Side community newspapers, and was a professor of English and African-American studies at Northwestern University for 24 years."

*

"Mr. Forrest was perhaps best known for his last novel, Divine Days (1993), a 1,138-page narrative about seven days in 1966 on the South Side of Chicago," his New York Times obit says.

"In it he mixed several genres, including the parable, tall tale and philosophical argument, to evoke a world inhabited by everyone from politicians and preachers to retired redcaps.

"Writing in The New York Times Book Review, Stanley Crouch described Divine Days' as 'an adventurous masterwork that provides our literature with a signal moment.''

"Mr. Forrest, the reviewer wrote, developed ''an intricate antiphony between things specific to the South Side of Chicago and universal themes like transcendence, the irresponsible uses of the charismatic, the heartbreak of the doomed romance, the riotous absurdity of human circumstances and the reincarnation of individuals and eras.'''

*

See also: "Bound for Glory | More than anything, Leon Forrest wanted to be recognized as a great writer. Now, ravaged by cancer, he raced death to finish his final novel."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:54 AM | Permalink

Obama Sends Man Working In Legal Marijuana Clinic To Prison

"Monday afternoon, Robert Duncan [reported] to Mendota Federal Prison in Fresno, Calif., to begin a two-year prison sentence," Reason notes.

"His crime? Working for a medical marijuana business that was legal under California state law. Not owning it; not profiting from illegal sales. Merely for being employed by the business.

"The collective of dispensaries Duncan worked for, known as MediZen, was raided by federal authorities in 2011 during a crackdown on medical marijuana providers by the Obama administration."

Here's Duncan discussing his case with HuffPost Live.


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See also: Obama's War On Medical Marijuana Puts An Innocent Man In Jail.

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* Talks pretty, acts ugly.

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Hey Duncan, hang this on your cell wall.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:00 AM | Permalink

Local TV Notes: From Mindless Morning TV To Marijuana

1. Fake Chef Fools Midwest Morning Shows, Makes Reporters Eat Gross Food.


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2. Marijuana Commercials To Start Airing In Chicago Area.

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3. Esquire TV vs. Dick Durbin.

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See also: Dislike: Friday Night Tykes.

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4. Former Fox Chicago Personality Tamron Hall Joins Today, Makes History, Reveals Weight And Has A Diaper Issue.

* The Today Show Is Still On? Paging 1975, We've Found Your Missing Three Hours!

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5. Our Dumb History.

"Slow news days were problematic," David Carr writes in the New York Times about the departure of Piers Morgan.

* We're quite confident positing that there has never been a slow news day in the history of the universe, only slow people.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:21 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: From Muddy Waters To Bloody Mary

1. Female Teen Band Rocks Chicago Suburbs.

"Ana 'Apollo' Juvan and drummer Kat "Cannons" Gannon are the oldest of the group at 17. Lead singer and guitarist Rickee 'Divine' Bell is 16 and the newest addition to the band, bassist Hollie 'Wood' Albin, is just 14."

* Already signed to Sony-associated Dark Star Records.

Come Back Again.


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Cherry Bomb.


Interviews.

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See also:
* Go Bloody Mary.

* On SoundCloud.

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2. Chicago, REO Speedwagon Touring Together.

"It's ironic, that these two legendary bands, who both have roots in Illinois, were label-mates (Columbia/Epic) in the '70s, and experienced waves of immense success in the '80s and '90s, and have somehow continued to consistently make compelling music, both in studio and on tour . . . have never before performed together," said Chicago's Robert Lamm told the Washington State Auburn Reporter.

* Not really; totally different styles.

Chicago on MTV, 1986.

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See also:
* Chicago (The Band's) Big Week.

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3. Scott Brown Rocks Out On Stage With Cheap Trick.

In Massachusetts last month, and in New Hampshire last August:

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* Brown is considering another run for Senate.

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4. Muddy Waters Museum In Doubt After South Side Home Sale Falls Through.

"The vacant two-unit apartment building at 4339 S. Lake Park Ave. was re-listed on Feb. 24 for $100,000, according to multiple listing service Midwest Real Estate Data LLC. Listing agent Jeffrey Nobleza of Baird & Warner Inc. confirmed that the listing is active, declining to comment further.

"Crain's reported last month that an undisclosed buyer had signed a contract to buy the property and convert it to a museum honoring Mr. Waters, a former Mississippi sharecropper turned electric guitar player who lived and played in the home for 20 years. Chicago lawyer Erik Miles, who represented the owner of the property in the aborted deal, told Crain's that the sale was scheduled to close Jan. 30.

"The failed sale presents an uncertain future for the property, which is subject to a foreclosure suit and was hit with a demolition order by the city last year. County records show Chandra Cooper, a Milwaukee resident and great-granddaughter of Muddy Waters, acquired the home in 2002."

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Muddy Waters Home Renewal Project.

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5. Upright Music Box From 1884.

"This is a beautiful Polyphon Music Box that was found in an estate just outside Chicago. It is beautiful and appears to have remained untouched and working for 120 years! Currently for sale on eBay: Item #141210208250."

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"Polyphon is the trade name of a disc playing music box, a mechanical device first manufactured by the Polyphon Musikwerke, located in Leipzig, Germany. Invented in 1870, full scale production started around 1897 and continued into the early 1900s. Polyphons were exported all over world and music was supplied for the English, French & German markets, as well as further afield, with music cataloged for the Russian, Polish and Balkan regions."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

March 3, 2014

Richie Incognito Would Never Happen In Baseball

Simply the idea of going away to school was enough to create a modest case of anxiety for me as a college freshman.

So how did the small liberal arts college in Mt. Vernon, Iowa welcome me and others who might have been experiencing self-doubt and a few butterflies? For openers, we were required to carry the upperclassmen's bags up to their rooms. Some of us were issued onions to wear around our necks. If a junior or senior told us to get down on all fours and lift our leg against a tree - in an apparent attempt to impress one of the ladies on campus - we complied.

At the end of this traditional equal-opportunity hazing (there were no fraternities) week, we found ourselves in the pitch black confines of the indoor track in the basement of the fieldhouse. All of the freshmen "men" were lined up to receive a solid whack on the ass with one of those fraternity paddles.

Just before the fun began, the dean of students appeared, gathered us, and said, "Now if any of you don't want to do this, you can leave now."

Yeah, right!

No one so much as raised an eyebrow; we got smacked; and life went on.

This memory of more than 50 years ago was rekindled last week as I lay on the couch, trying to escape this cruelest of winters, reading the entire 148-page Wells Report about the vulgar, disrespectful and sorry behavior that occurred last season with the Miami Dolphins.

Reflecting on the report commissioned by the NFL, I thought back on my experience. It wasn't pleasant. I was uncomfortable. I felt alone. Yet I knew if I had walked out of that basement that night, I would regret it.

Feeling the same kind of pressure - but with far greater intensity for a much longer time with much scarier people - apparently kept Jonathan Martin on the Dolphins for a season-and-a-half, enduring the psychological punishment led by teammate Richie Incognito. Martin's parents knew about the abuse, but he never disclosed anything to his coaches, the Miami front office, or the NFL administration. And then last October 29, he abruptly left the team.

The report is less shocking than insightful. The language - including lewd sexual references to Martin's mother and sister - is what one might expect in this so-called culture which celebrates the zenith of American masculinity. But the depth of the abuse, its extremely personal nature, and its unrelenting frequency provide a picture of what these athletes consider acceptable.

Not all of Martin's teammates participated, but none of them did anything to stop it - much less his offensive line coach Jim Turner, who tolerated the bullying and even participated on occasion. Turner was in his first year in the NFL after coaching in the college ranks for almost 25 years. Once Martin left the team and Incognito was identified as the main perpetrator of the abuse, Turner sent texts to Martin calling for him to issue a statement defending Incognito. "DO THE RIGHT THING NOW," demanded Turner.

This guy's moral compass couldn't find true north if you pointed him toward the Arctic Circle. Needless to say, he was facing the loss of two of his five starting lineman, and that was his priority. When interviewed by investigators, he lied when he said that he couldn't remember events for which everyone else had a clear memory.

Why is it that so many of our coaches are clueless when it comes to the opportunity of guiding and mentoring younger people as they mature and develop?

Whether it's the Miami Dolphins, Penn State, or Maine West, too many of the men and women invested with the precious assignment of setting a positive example of decency fail our young people.

I'm not talking about the majority of coaches. Many of us have memories of playing for coaches who provided meaningful life lessons via sports. They take their responsibilities seriously, and they do an effective job.

Yet there are far too many instances when men like Turner show abysmal, damaging, immoral judgment. Once the Wells Report was made public, Turner was fired as he should have been. However, chances are he'll get another job elsewhere.

The report also reminded me of former major league pitcher Jim Bouton and his book Ball Four, which was published in 1970. It was one of the first sports books to chronicle everyday life in professional sports.

Bouton, who attended Bloom High School in Chicago Heights and won 21 games for the 1963 Yankees, became a pariah after the book was published. What went on in the clubhouse was meant to stay in the clubhouse.

Ball Four is pabulum compared to what we know today about what goes on in locker rooms and clubhouses. He described the needling, joking, drinking and drug use that players engaged in on a regular basis, but he also wrote that anyone with psychological problems couldn't be in a worse place than on a professional sports team. Weakness and vulnerability weren't likely to attract empathy.

That certainly was true in the case of Jonathan Martin. As a defense mechanism, he tried to be friends with Incognito. The Wells Report states, "Our consulting expert . . . explained that Martin's effort to befriend Incognito is consistent with the reaction of a person who is trapped in an abusive situation and that attempting to develop a close friendship with an abusive person is a common coping mechanism exhibited by victims of abusive relationships."

When Martin bolted and Incognito's name surfaced, teammates were puzzled because they thought the two were buddies even though they witnessed the abuse directed at Martin. What were they thinking?

The notion that Martin might be depressed never was raised by anyone in the Dolphins organization. He didn't fight back, never complained, and actually turned into an effective offensive lineman.

"[Consultant] Dr. Berman also confirmed that Martin's placing the blame on himself rather than on his abusive teammates is consistent with how a person in a depressive state thinks and behaves," the Report continues, illustrating that Bouton's point is well-taken.

While it's not clear whether other NFL teams have the same kind of locker room mentality as the Dolphins, it's doubtful that you'd find this kind of behavior occurring in baseball clubhouses. Of the 25-man roster, usually at least eight or 10 players are Latin American or Asian. A guy like Richie Incognito isn't smart enough to bridge the language barrier with his verbal garbage.

Racial and homophobic slurs wouldn't be tolerated in Latin and Asian cultures as they are in some segments of the American culture. Trying to get a reaction from the likes of Dayan Viciedo or Avasail Garcia by describing the sexual liberties you might take with their mothers or sisters likely would result in an extended respite on the DL.

Baseball is a kinder, gentler sport. Little guys can play. Finesse, speed and intelligence are as valued as physicality. Rookies aren't hazed. Have you seen new White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, all 6-foot-4, 250 pounds of him? He represents brightness and hope for our new Sox. Mistreat him? I think not.

In this age of heightened awareness of bullying and abuse, it appears that football is mired back in the time when I was shaking in my boots in that fieldhouse basement.

Take me out to the ballgame any day.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:25 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Forget Carmelo And The Heat

Now that the Knicks have left town after Sunday's all-encompassing embarrassment of a matinee against the Bulls, can we ease up on the "Will Carmelo or won't he?" chatter for a little while and get back to enjoying what is turning into a great season?

The Bulls grabbed their ninth victory in their last 10 games with a 109-90 decision that wasn't half that close. They temporarily took sole possession of the third seed in the Eastern Conference before Toronto won last night to again match the Bulls' record (33-26). It is the first time this season the Bulls have been seven games over .500.

And while we're easing up on things, perhaps we could take a break from saying, "Of course the Bulls won't have a chance against Miami in the playoffs" at least for a little while. I say that while simultaneously acknowledging they almost certainly won't have a chance versus the Heat.

But that potential playoff series is well off in the future, almost as far off as Knick forward Carmelo Anthony deciding what he will do with the rest of his career.

Anthony, who has been one of the top five scorers in the NBA for more than a half-dozen years now, can opt out of his current contract at the end of this season. Everyone believes he will do so and become a free agent. Anthony turns 30 later this year by the way. New York can then offer him a max contract that pays him about $30 million more than any other NBA team can offer.

But if Anthony is willing to take less than max money (or if he is able to convince the Knicks that he is willing to do so and in so doing force a sign-and-trade deal with the Bulls that would lead to the Bulls giving up some significant assets in order to be in position to pay Anthony the "staying with his original team" max), it sure seems as though his best option is the Bulls.

Wait a minute, what am I doing here? I'm engaging in "Will Carmelo or won't he" chatter.

Well, at least I can move on now.

Now, regarding a possible match-up with the Heat in the post-season: For one thing, everyone remembers that they will play the games no matter what, right? In other words, no matter how many times the commentariat writes that the Bulls will not compete with Miami if they meet in the playoffs, there will be no forfeits.

For another, I know that loss to Miami the weekend before last was a downer, especially with LeBron James sidelined (it was of course that one loss in the Bulls' last 10). But I do hope everyone remembers that Jimmy Butler was sidelined as well. And with Butler out, Kirk Hinrich had to try to cover a healthy-at-that-point Dwayne Wade, and that wasn't going to go well.

Actually, the killer about possibly seeing the Heat in the playoffs is that the Bulls will miss Luol Deng more against James and his mates than against any other opponent. Not that the Bulls have missed Deng very much. It seems more and more apparent that Deng wasn't nearly as valuable to the Bulls as was commonly believed. I remember a five-game stretch earlier this season where Deng put up particularly impressive individual numbers. The problem was the Bulls lost four of those five games. And that stretch was not an outlier. The fact of the matter is that Deng is simply not one of those most valuable assets in the NBA - a player who single-handedly tilts the scale and makes a team a winner.

Anthony is one of those players, even if the Knicks are horrible this season. And . . . dude, can't we revel in the present state of the Bulls for a just a little while before we call this a column? Yes we can!

The main reason the Bulls have gone on this run and are playing beautifully clever offense to complement their usual intense defense is that Joakim Noah has completed his evolution into an NBA star-in-full. He piled up 14 assists yesterday as part of a triple double. Fourteen assists!

And while several of those, at least early on, involved him essentially handing the ball to jump shooters who were curling around him and then knocking down long shots, he still piled up those assists fair and square.

It had only been since 1979 that an NBA center (Sam Lacey) had totaled 14 assists in a game. 1979!

Other stars yesterday included Butler, who keyed a strong perimeter defensive performance, and D.J. Augustin, who singlehandedly kept the Bulls comfortably in front in the fourth quarter with 21 of his 23 points during that stretch.

Just imagine how good they'd have been if they had Carmelo.

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See also: Joakim Noah's Evisceration Of The Knicks Was A Thing Of Beauty.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:58 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Some crushing obligations to attend to today - the Papers will return on Tuesday.

In the meantime . . .

Beachwood Podcast #3
Ukraine, Venezuela, Boeing, Gay Stuff, Jails and CPS.


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Obnoxious Cubs Payday Ahead
New TV deal to make Ricketts family richer while payroll suffers.

The Problem With National Security Letters
For starters, they're unconstitutional.

Richie Incognito Wouldn't Happen In Baseball
Locker room culture gap.

Forget Carmelo And The Heat
Savor what the Bulls are doing right now.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Sonics, Danimal Cannon, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Mickey Avalon, Dead Meadow, Lacuna Coil, Eyes Set To Kill, Broken Bells, Pink Eyes, and Please The Trees.

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BeachBook
* Red Light Injustice Example 5,948,204,857.

* Watch Billy Corgan's Eight-Hour Siddartha Gig - Or Just Make Fun Of It Here.

* Do As Rahm Says, Not As Rahm Does.

* The Unofficial Beer Of The Beachwood Podcast.

* How Cops Talk.

* I Know It's George Lucas's Money, But . . .

* International Space Station Crew Discusses Life In Space With WLS-AM - From Space.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Anti-heroic.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:18 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Sonics at the Double Door on Thursday night.


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2. Danimal Cannon at Subterranean on Friday night.

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3. St. Paul & The Broken Bones at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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4. Mickey Avalon at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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5. Dead Meadow at the Double Door on Saturday night.

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6. Lacuna Coil at Mojoes in Joliet on Saturday night.

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7. Eyes Set To Kill at Mojoes in Joliet on Saturday night.

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8. Broken Bells at the Vic on Saturday night.

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9. Pink Eyes at Quenchers on Sunday night.

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10. Please The Trees at Junior's on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:18 AM | Permalink

EFF Fights National Security Letter Demands On Behalf Of Telecom, Internet Company

The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed two briefs on Friday challenging secret government demands for information known as National Security Letters (NSLs) with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The briefs - one filed on behalf of a telecom company and another for an internet company - remain under seal because the government continues to insist that even identifying the companies involved might endanger national security.

While the facts surrounding the specific companies and the NSLs they are challenging cannot be disclosed, their legal positions are already public: the NSL statute is a violation of the First Amendment as well as the constitutional separation of powers.

"The NSL statute allows the FBI to demand potentially protected information without any court oversight," EFF senior staff attorney Matt Zimmerman said.

"Furthermore, it permits the FBI to independently gag recipients so that NSL recipients like our clients have no ability to notify their customers or the public that any demands were made, let alone that they went to court to stop them.

"Our clients strongly desire to bring their unique perspectives to the ongoing national discussion on intrusive government spying, and they have timely and relevant information to contribute to that debate.

"However, the FBI's unconstitutional NSL authority prevents these companies from exercising their rights and taking part in this critically important conversation."

In March 2013, a federal district court judge in San Francisco agreed with EFF and ruled the NSL provisions unconstitutional, barring future NSLs and accompanying gag orders.

That ruling was stayed pending appeal, however, and the district court has subsequently enforced separate NSLs - including NSLs issued to both EFF clients - and indicates that it will continue to do so until the Ninth Circuit rules on EFF's challenges.

"The fight over NSLs and the government's dangerous practice of bypassing meaningful review by the judicial branch is not an academic one - real people and real companies are involved, battling for their constitutional rights and the rights of their users," Zimmerman said.

"The district court was right: the First Amendment prevents the FBI from engaging in such invasive, secretive, and unaccountable activities. We are eager to explain to the Court of Appeals why it should come to the same conclusion."

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See also:
* The EFF recently re-launched its Frequently Asked Questions page on National Security Letters.

* More on the National Security Letter cases.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:04 AM | Permalink

Cubs TV Deal: Obnoxious Payday Ahead

Optionality puts estimate of new contract north of $200 million - annually.


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Here's what business operations president Crane Kenney had to say about it at the Cubs convention in January.

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See also:
* Cubs Playing Hardball With WGN.

* Cubs Looking To Cash In On Next TV Deal.

* Ricketts' Answers Don't Explain Lower Payroll Spending.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:30 AM | Permalink

March 1, 2014

The Weekend Desk Report

Special Winter Weather Edition
Meteorologists will taunt us with pronouncements of spring's arrival, but we all know the crappy weather won't be ending any time soon. So let's make this interesting, shall we? Below we present the official Weekend Desk Winter Weather Prop Bets. Good luck, punters, and happy shoveling.

Obligatory Oscars Pick
And in case you were wondering our pick for Best Picture, we're going American Hustle all the way.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Best supporting tip line.

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Beachwood Podcast No. 3
Ukraine, Venezuela, Boeing, Gay Stuff, Jails and CPS.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Sly & the Family Stone changed the face of music by bringing in the funk. We talk to two of the key members of the band about the legacy of the Family: Jerry Martini & Cynthia Robinson. Then we review the new album from the perennially heartbroken Lydia Loveless."

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The Flying Saucer Weekend Brunch Report: Proudly serving Filbert's!

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Community Forum: Community Media Workshop

2-24-CMW.jpg

Community Media Workshop's incoming executive director, Susy Shultz, is joined by exiting president Thom Clark to discuss the community organization's future and upcoming Studs Terkel Media Awards.

Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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Perspectivas Latinas: Changing Worlds

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Explore the impact of the arts on learning and academics with Mark Rodriguez and Joanne Vena of Changing Worlds, and Calmeca Academy principal Frances Garcia.

Saturday at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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Town Hall On Gun Violence

2-26-ViolenceForum.jpg

This forum on violence in Chicago includes remarks from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, police chief Garry McCarthy, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and former police chief Terry Hilliard.

Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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Exploring The Future Of Nature

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Government officials and scholars reflect on the role of wilderness nearby urban areas and examine plans for protecting nature in Cook County and beyond.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Women Working In The News Industry

2-24-Journalism.jpg

Two female journalists, Lynn Povich and Jesse Ellison, share their experience with sex discrimination in the workplace and their time at Newsweek magazine.

Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Chicago School Policy Forum: On-Track Indicators

2-24-SchoolPolicy.jpg

Education experts discuss how tracking indicators of student performance can identify those in need of more help and improve graduation rates.

Sunday at 1 p.m. on CAN TV21.


Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:15 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - An Odd Call From Bermuda.
SPORTS - All Is Not Forgiven, Bears.

BOOKS - Turning Points Of The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Baxter's IV Bag Shortages.


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